H.P. Blavatsky
Page xxiii
Most of the material in the present Volume appeared in print in collected form
for the first time in 1933, when it was published by Rider & Co. in London, under the
title of the The Complete Works of H. P. Blavatsky. A considerable portion of the
stock of that Volume perished in the London "blitz" during the second World War. As
a result of this, these earlier Volumes have been unobtainable for many years.
The material originally published in Volume I has been thoroughly revised; the
text has been checked in almost every instance wit the original sources of publication,
and most of the quoted matter compared with the originals and corrected whenever
necessary. Substantial additions have been incorporated in the present Volume, such
as H.P.B.'s characteristic marginal pen-and-ink Notes and Comments in her
Scrapbooks now in the Archives at Adyar, her Travel-Impressions of 1867 jotted
down in one of her Notebooks, her revealing entries in Col. Olcott's Diaries of 1878,
and a few articles and brief items from her pen discovered during the last few years.
Many explanatory notes and comments have been added by the Compiler to clarify
points of Theosophical history. A comprehensive yet succinct outline of H.P.B.'s
family background and early life and travels has been prepared especially for this
Volume. Biographical and Bibliographical information has been collected in the
Appendix with regard to a number of individuals associated with H.P.B. in the
formative years of the Theosophical Movement, especially the Co-founders of the
Society, and other personalities she refers to or quotes from.
All in all, the present Volume, far from being merely a second edition of the
earlier one, is de facto an entirely new Volume, and is intended to set the stage and
sound the key-note for the entire Series of the Collected Writings.
The Compiler wishes to express his gratitude to all those who have helped in the
preparation of this Volume, especially the following friends and associates:
Page xxiv
Irene R. Ponsonby who checked all the editorial material and read the page
proofs, and whose thorough knowledge of literary style and methods was of
inestimable help; Zoltán de álgya-Pap, of the Adyar Archives, whose willing
assitance and painstaking checking of original sources provided a major contribution
to the completeness of this Volume; Dara R. Eklund who was responsible for the
checking of innumerable quotations in various out of the way publications; Frances
Ziegenmeyer who helped with the transcription of microfilm; and Margaret
Chamberlain Rathbun who proofread the text of the entire Volume in manuscript.
JANUARY 4TH, 1966.
Page xxv
A definitive edition of the Collected Writings of H. P. Blavatsky calls for a brief
survey of her early life and her family background, in order to acquaint the reader
with the many vicissitudes during that early period when, as far as we know at
present, H.P.B. had not yet embarked upon her literary career.
The source material with regard to that period is very fragmentary and uncertain.
Her own statements are often contradictory and therefore unreliable, and those of her
friends and relatives are often equally confused, with the exception of her sister Vera
Petrovna de Zhelihovsky who kept a Diary and was a particularly careful writer.
For some curious reason, many of the uncertainties which could have been at
least partially eliminated during the lifetime of various contemporaries, were allowed
to remain unchallenged, until too late to do so, owing to the passing of these
individuals, or the destruction of documents known to have existed at one time.
All in all, the best that any modern writer can do is to present a fragmentary
account with a number of obvious lacunae or a choice of possible alternatives,
supported by references to early sources of information, leaving the reader to draw
his own conclusions as to the most probable course of events.
This, perhaps, is not a unique situation, especially when the occult nature of H.
P. Blavatsky’s career is taken into account. The lives of genuine Occultists throughout
the ages are for the most part but little known, and their various moves are, as a rule,
uncertain. No complete biographical sketch of any degree of authenticity can be
produced in the case of Count de Saint-Germain or Count de Cagliostro, except for
certain brief periods in their careers; nor would a biographer fare any better in the
case of Apollonius of Tyana, Samkarâchârya, Simon Magus, Zoroaster or Pythagoras.
As time passes, and the constant shifting of scenery on the karmic stage takes its
usual course, details are forgotten, individuals vanish into the distant background of
historical perspective, and witnesses depart from their former scenes of action, until
much is left to mere conjecture and speculation, against the backdrop of a rapidly
receding era. It is even more so in the case of those strange and mysterious characters
whose lives are woven on a unique pattern, whose mission is devoted to the liberation
of men from the thraldom of the senses, and who appear in our midst from time to
time as symbols of spiritual freedom, and as living witnesses to the hidden powers of
Page xxvi
For the “initiates are as hard to catch as the sun-sparkle which flecks the dancing
wave on a summer-day. One generation of man may know them under one name in a
certain country, and the next, or a succeeding one, see them as someone else in a
remote land.
“They live in each place as long as they are needed and then—pass away ‘like a
breath’ leaving no trace behind.”
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky was born at Ekaterinoslav, a town on the river
Dnieper, in Southern Russia, on the 31st of July, 1831, according to the Julian or socalled
“Old Style” Calendar, then current in Russia. According to the Gregorian
Calendar the date would have been August 12th. Although no official record has ever
been produced of the exact time of her birth, it has been determined with sufficient
accuracy by astrological rectification, based on various important events in H.P.B.’s
life, to have been 1:42 A.M., local time, which, equated for Greenwich, would be
11:22 P.M., on August 11th, 1831.1
The year 1831 was a very bad one in Russia; a widespread epidemic of cholera
raged and several members of her parents’ household had been victims of the disease.
As Helena was born prematurely, and there was fear for the infant’s life, an
immediate baptism took place. A child who held a candle in the first row behind the
officiating priest, set fire to his robes during the ceremony.2
Helena’s mother was Helena Andreyevna (1814-42), eldest daughter of Andrey
Mihailovich de Fadeyev (Dec. 31, 1789-Aug. 28, 1867 o.s.) and Helena Pavlovna,
née Princess Dolgorukova (Oct. 11, 1789-Aug. 12, 1860 o.s.).
A. M. de Fadeyev, Helena’s maternal grandfather, a Privy Councillor, was at one
time Civil Governor of the Province of Saratov and later, for many years (1846-67),
Director of the Department of State Lands in the Caucasus, and member of the
Council of the Viceroy of the Caucasus, Count Mihail Semyonovich Vorontzov. His
1 The Theosophist, Vol. XV, October, 1893, pp. 12-17.
2 Ibid., Vol. XXX, April, 1909, p. 85.
Page xxvii
Reminiscences, 1790-18673 is an extremely valuable work giving the entire
family background of the de Fadeyevs and much information concerning the various
sojourns of H.P.B.’s mother and father, and Helena as a child. The work is also of
great importance as a description of Russian life and of many historical personalities
of the 19th century.
Helena Pavlovna, Helena’s maternal grandmother, whom A. M. de Fadeyev had
married in 1813, was the daughter of Prince Paul Vassilyevich Dolgorukov (1755-
1837) and Henrietta Adolfovna de Bandré-du-Plessis (d. 1812) who was of French
descent.4 She had married against the wishes of her parents, who objected to her
marriage with a commoner, even though he was known to be of great probity. Helena
Pavlovna was a very unusual individual, a noted botanist, a woman of scholarly
attainments and of great culture, rare endowments for a woman of that period in
3 Vospominaniya, 1790-1867 (Russian text), in two parts bound in one volume. Odessa: South-
Russian Society for Printing, 1897. Enlarged and supplemented from essays originally published in
the Russkiy Arhiv (Russian Archive).
4 The family du Plessis belonged to the old French nobility with the title of Marquis, and was
divided into two branches: Mornay-du-Plessis and Bandré-du-Plessis. One of the members of the
latter, being a Huguenot, had to leave France and settle in Saxony. Adolph Franzovich de Bandrédu-
Plessis, grandfather of H.P.B.’s grandmother, served first in Saxony but later accepted an
invitation to go to Russia, and as a Captain, entered military service there in the beginning of
Catherine the Great’s reign. He commanded an Army Corps in the Crimean War, became
Lieutenant-General, and was a favorite of Field Marshal Suvorov. He also saw diplomatic service in
Poland and the Crimea, and was a protégé of the Chancellor, Count Nikita Ivanovich Panin. A
highly intelligent and cultured man, he retired in 1790 because of ill health, and resided on his
estate of Nizki, in the Province of Mogilev, where he died in 1793.
From his marriage to Helena Ivanovna Briseman-von-Nettig, of the Province of Lifland, he had one
daughter, Henrietta Adolfovna. Henrietta was a very beautiful woman but somewhat peculiar and
flighty. She married Prince Paul V. Dolgorukov in 1787, she was separated from him after a few
years, but rejoined him again some three years before his death. Besides their daughter, Helena
Pavlovna, they had a second daughter, Anastassiya Pavlovna (d. 1828) who married Alexander
Vassilyevich Sushkov.
These details are from A. M. de Fadeyev’s Reminiscences, 1, 20-22.
Page xxviii
She was proficient in history, natural science, archaeology and numismatics, and had
some valuable books and collections on these subjects. For many years she
corresponded with a number of foreign and Russian scientists, among them Baron F.
H. Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859); Sir Roderick Impey Murchison (1792-
1871), British geologist and one of the Founders of the Royal Geographical Society,
who went on an extensive expedition to Russia, Christian Steven (1781-1864), the
Swedish botanist who engaged in a comprehensive study of Crimean flora and
worked in the silk industry of the Caucasus; Otto Wilhelm Hermann von Abich
(1806-86), the well-known geologist and explorer; and G. S. Karelin (1801-72),
traveller, geographer, ethnologist and explorer of natural science. Helena Pavlovna
spoke five languages fluently and was an excellent artist.
Hommaire-de-Hell, traveller and geologist, who spent some seven years in
Russia, speaks of Mme. de Fadeyev’s hospitality and scholarly attainments in one of
his works.5
Lady Hester Lucy Stanhope (1776-1839), the famous English traveller who had
circled the entire world dressed as a man, says in her book on Russia:
“In that barbarian land I met an outstanding woman-scientist, who would have
been famous in Europe, but who is completely underestimated due to her misfortune
of being born on the shores of the Volga river, where there was none to recognize her
scientific value.”
Helena Pavlovna’s extensive herbarium was presented after her death to the
University of St. Petersburg.6
5 Cf. Ignace-Xavier Morand Hommaire-de-Hell (1812-48), Les steppes de la Mer Caspienne, la
Crimée et la Russie méridionale, etc., Paris, Strassburg, 1843-45, 3 vols. The descriptive part is by
his wife Adèle who was a poet and writer in her own right. Chapters XXI and XXII of the French
original, and pp. 165-77 of the English translation (Travels in the Steppes, etc.; London: Chapman
and Hall, 1847), deal with their visit to the Kalmuk prince Tumen’; therein they speak of Madame
de Fadeyev and describe the Kalmuk setting and festivities in which H.P.B. herself, as a small girl,
took part, as she later recounts in Isis Unveiled, II, 600, footnote.
6 Vide “Helena Pavlovna Fadeyeva,” by her daughter, Nadezhda A. de Fadeyev, in Russkaya
Starina (Russian Old Days), Vol. 52, December, 1886, pp. 749-51.
Page xxix
The other children of the de Fadeyevs were: Rostislav Andreyevich(1824-84),
Major-General in Artillery, Joint Secretary of State at the Ministry of the Interior, and
a noted writer on subjects of military strategy: Nadyezhda Andreyevna (1828-1919),
the much beloved aunt of H.P.B., who was only three years her senior, never married
and was for some years a member of the Council of The Theosophical Society;
Katherine Andreyevna (b. 1819) who married Yuliy F. de Witte and was the mother of
the famous statesman, Count Serguey Yulyevich de Witte; and Eudoxia Andreyevna
who died in infancy.
Considering the general cultural background, it is not unnatural that Helena
Andreyevna, daughter of the Fadeyevs, and mother of H.P.B., should herself have
been a very remarkable woman. She was born Jan. 11/23, 1814, near the village of
Rzhishchevo, in the Province of Kiev, where the estate of the Dolgorukovs was
located. Nurtured in an atmosphere of culture and scholarship, she became a noted
novelist, her first work, called The Ideal, being published when she was 23. Her
marriage, in 1830, at the early age of 16, to a man almost twice her age, Col. Peter
Alexeyevich von Hahn,7 was an unhappy one, owing to incompatibility and the
inability on her part to fit into the narrow groove of her husband’s military life. Her
delicate sensitivity and high ideals made it impossible for her to enjoy the society of
people whose ideas and sentiments remained on a very commonplace level. In her
novels, she pictured the wretched position of women, their lack of opportunity and
education, and voiced the question of their ultimate emancipation. She was the first
woman in Russia to do so in literature. Her unhappiness must have contributed to the
undermining of her health, and she died from tuberculosis when only 28 years of
7 Written and pronounced in Russian as Gan.
8 Her literary output was large. Her published works include the following: The Ideal; Utballa,
Jelalu’d-din; Theophania Abbiadjio; Medallion; Lubonka; Lozha v Odesskoy opere (A Box at the
Odessa Opera); Sud svyeta (The World’s Judgement); and Naprasniy Dar (A Fruitless Gift). She
wrote under the pseudonym of Zeneida R—va, and was hailed by the greatest Russian literary critic
Byelinsky as a “Russian George Sand.” Her Complete Works were published in four volumes at St.
Petersburg in 1843, a second edition being issued by N. F. Mertz in the same city in 1905.
Vide the comprehensive biographical sketch by Catherine S. Nekrassova entitled “Yelena
Andreyevna Gan,” in Russkaya Starina (Russian
Page xxx
Helena’s father, Captain of Artillery Peter Alexeyevich von Hahn (Gan)—1798-
1873—was the son of Lieutenant-General Alexis Gustavovich von Hahn (d. before
1830) and Countess Elizabeth Maksimovna von Pröbsen.9 The family was descended
from an old Mecklenburg family, the Counts Hahn von Rottenstern-Hahn, one branch
of which had emigrated to Russia a century or so before. Alexis G. von Hahn was a
famous General in the Army of Field Marshal Suvorov and won a decisive battle in
the St. Gothard Alps, at a spot named Devil’s Bridge, on the River Reuss. He was
named Commander of the city of Zürich in Switzerland, during the period of
occupation. Not much is known about his wife, H.P.B.’s paternal grandmother, but
Vera P. de Zhelihovsky, H.P.B.’s sister, says that it was from her that H.P.B. inherited
her “curly hair” and her vivaciousness.10
When Helena was born—she was the couple’s first child—her father was absent
in Poland, at the Russo-Polish war which lasted until September, 1831.
The first ten years of Helena’s life were spent in frequent changes from one
place of residence to another, partly due to the fact that her father’s battery of Horse-
Artillery was being transferred from place to place, and partly because of the
precarious health of her mother.11
In the summer of 1832, her father returned from Poland and they went to live in
a small community called Romankovo, in the Province of Ekaterinoslav.12 Towards
the end of 1833, or the beginning of 1834, they moved to Oposhnya, a small place in
the Province of Kiev.13
Old Days), Vol. LI, August and September, 1886, pp. 335-54, 553-74. A brief account by Lydia P.
Bobritsky entitled “Helena Andreevna Hahn,” in The Theosophical Forum, Vol. XXVI, August,
1948, based primarily upon the Preface to the 2nd edition of her Complete Works, St. Petersburg,
9 H.P.B.’s father, Peter Alexeyevich, had at least seven brothers and sisters. Among them, Ivan
Alexeyevich who was Postmaster-General at St. Petersburg.
10 Vera P. de Zhelihovsky, Kak ya bila malen’koy (When I was Small), 2nd rev. and enl. edition, St.
Petersburg, A. F. Devrient, 1894, p. 243.
11 A. P. Sinnett, The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett, New York, Frederick A. Stokes,
1924, p. 150.
12 C. S. Nekrassova, “Helena Andreyevna Gan,” in Russkaya Starina, Vol. LI, August and
September, 1886, p. 344.
13 V. P. de Zhelihovsky, Moyo otrochestvo (My Adolescence), St. Petersburg, A. F. Devrient, 3rd
ed., p. 76.
Page xxxi
After other frequent changes of location, they returned to Romankovo for a time.14
During this period, Helena’s brother Alexander (Sasha) was born; however, he
soon became ill and died at Romankovo, where he was buried.15
In the same year of 1834, Helena’s grandfather, Andrey Mihailovich de Fadeyev
became a member of the Board of Trustees for the Colonizers, and moved with his
wife to Odessa. Helena went with her mother to stay with them.16 While there,
Helena’s sister, Vera, was born on April 17/29, 1835.17
Sometime during 1835, Helena and her parents travelled in the Ukraine and in
the Provinces of Tula and Kursk.18 In the Spring of 1836, the family went to St.
Petersburg, where the father’s battery had been recently transferred.19 At about this
time, A. M. de Fadeyev (Helena’s grandfather) was appointed Trustee for the
nomadic Kalmuk tribes in the Province of Astrakhan.20 After a business trip to St.
Petersburg, on which his daughter Nadyezhda accompanied him, he left for
Astrakhan in May, 1836, or early Summer. Helena, with her mother and sister Vera,
went with them, while her father returned to the Ukraine. They remained in
Astrakhan for about a year.21
In May, 1837, the grandparents, accompanied by Helena, her mother and her
sister Vera, went to Zheleznovodsk in the Caucasus, for treatment in the hot water
Later in the same year, Helena, with her mother and sister, resumed their
nomadic life, going first to Poltava. It is here that her mother met Miss Antonya
Christianovna Kühlwein, who became governess and friend of the family.23
14 Nekrassova, op. cit., pp. 346-47.
15 V. P. de Zhelihovsky, “Helena Andreyevna Gan,” in Russkaya Starina, Vol. LIII, March, 1887, p.
734; Nekrassova, op. cit., p. 348.
16 A. M. de Fadeyev, Vospominaniya.
17 Nekrassova, op. cit., pp. 347-48.
18 Nekrassova, op. cit., pp. 349, 353.
19 Ibid., pp. 349-50.
20 Sinnett, op. cit., p. 150; Nekrassova, op. cit., p. 353.
21 Zhelihovsky, Ruskaya Starina, March, 1887, pp. 751-52; de Fadeyev, Vospominaniya;
Nekrassova, op. cit., p. 354; H.P.B.’s Letter to P. C. Mitra, April 10, 1878; H.P.B. Speaks, Vol. 1, p.
22 Nekrassova, op. cit., p. 556; Zhelihovsky, op. cit., p. 752.
23 Ibid., p. 500; Zhelihovsky, op. cit., pp. 752-54.
Page xxxii
In the Spring of 1838, Helena’s mother’s condition became more serious, and
they moved to Odessa, for mineral water treatments.24 In June of 1839, the family
secured the additional services of an English governess, Miss Augusta Sophia Jeffers,
who came from Yorkshire.25
In early December of the same year, Helena’s grandparents moved to Saratov on
the Volga, where A. M. de Fadeyev had become Governor of the Province. Helena,
her mother and her sister, Vera, joined them in that city.26
In June, 1840, Helena’s brother Leonid was born in Saratov (he died Oct.
27/Nov. 9, 1885, at Stavropol’).27 In the Spring of 1841, Helena went with her
family to join her father in the Ukraine.28 In the early Spring of 1842, they moved to
Odessa again, together with the two governesses and Dr. Vassiliy Nikolayevich
Benzengr, who attended Helena’s mother. In May of the same year, the grandparents
de Fadeyev came to Odessa to visit them.29
On June 24/July 6, 1842, Helena’s mother, Helena Andreyevna von Hahn, died
at Odessa, as a result of her protracted illness, and in the Fall of the same year the
children went to live with their grandparents in Saratov.30 They stayed there until the
end of 1845, living in the city during the Winter months, and in the neighboring
countryside in Summer.31
24 Zhelihovsky, Russkaya Starina, March, 1887, p. 754.
25 Sinnett, op. cit., pp. 149-50; Sinnett, Incidents in the Life of H. P. Blavatsky, London, George
Redway, 1886, p. 24; Zhelihovsky, op. cit., p. 756; Nekrassova, op. cit., pp. 562-63.
26 de Fadeyev, op. cit.; Zhelihovsky, op. cit., pp. 762-63; Nekrassova, op. cit., p. 565.
27 Nekrassova, op. cit., p. 565; Zhelihovsky, op. cit., p. 766.
28 Nekrassova, op. cit., p. 567.
29 Zhelihovsky, op. cit., p. 766; Nekrassova, op. cit., p. 573. The period of 1837-42 is described in a
very entertaining manner by Vera Petrovna de Zhelihovsky, H.P.B.’s sister, in her book for children
entitled Kak ya bila malen’koy (When I was Small), 2nd rev. and enl. ed., St. Petersburg, A. F.
Devrient, 1894; 269 pp., fig., plates.
30 Zhelihovsky, Moyo otrochestvo, pp. 4-15, 76; Nekrassova, op. cit., p. 573; Sinnett, Letters, etc.,
pp. 159-60; Sinnett, Incidents, etc., pp. 24-25; Zhelihovsky, Russkaya Starina, March, 1887, p. 766;
Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled, II, 600.
31 Zhelihovsky, Moyo otrochestvo, pp. 15-61, 69-160; Zhelihovsky, Kak ya bila malen’koy,
chapters x and xi.
1789-1860H.P.B.’s maternal grandmother
1789-1867H.P.B.’s maternal grandfather
1814-1842H.P.B.’s mother
1835-1896H.P.B.’s sister.
(Consult the Bio-Bibliographical Index)
Page xxxiii
It must have been towards the end of this period that H.P.B., then 13, rode a horse
which became frightened and bolted—with her foot caught in the stirrup. She felt
someone’s arms around her body supporting her until the horse was stopped.32
On the authority of Helena’s sister Vera,33 it would appear that their father, then
living far away and quite alone, and knowing that his children would soon be going
to live in the Caucasus with their grandparents, came to see them at Saratov during
the Summer of 1845, spending a month there. The family had not seen him for three
years and had some difficulty recognizing him, as he had aged and changed greatly.
The time of this visit is rather well determined by the fact that Vera says she was then
in her “eleventh year.”34
Sometime before the end of 1845, Helena apparently visited the Ural Mountains
and Semipalatinsk with an uncle who had property in Siberia, on the boundary of
Mongolia, and made numerous excursions beyond the frontiers.35
In January, 1846, Helena’s grandfather, A. M. de Fadeyev, was appointed by the
Viceroy of the Caucasus, Prince Mihail Semyonovich Vorontzov, to the post of
Director of the Department of State Lands in Trans-Caucasia.36 The last part of the
1845-1846 Winter season, and the Summer of 1846, were spent in and around
32 Madame Pissareva’s account in The Theosophist, Vol. XXXIV, January, 1913, p. 503.
33 Zhelihovsky, Moyo otrochestvo, pp. 165-68.
34 Writing to Sinnett (Letters, etc., 150) who was importuning her for data regarding her early life,
H.P.B. said that she was on a visit to London and France with her father in 1844. It is then that she
is supposed to have taken music lessons from Moscheles, and to have lived with her father at Bath.
There is no confirmation whatever of any such trip at that time. It should be borne in mind that such
a trip would have started from Saratov on the Volga where the family then lived. We have just seen
that in the Summer of 1845, in Vera’s “eleventh year,” they had a visit from their father, who spent
only one month with them, and had not seen them for three years. Any trip abroad, which in those
days took considerable time, does not seem to fit into the picture at all.
35 Blavatsky, Collected Writings, Vol. VI, pp. 293-94.
36 Zhelihovsky, Moyo otrochestvo, p. 171.
37 Ibid., pp. 160-73.
Page xxxiv
In the middle of August, 1846, the grandparents and one of the aunts, Miss
Nadyezhda A. de Fadeyev, moved to Tiflis in Georgia (Caucasus), while Helena,
Vera, Leonid, their married aunt, Catherine A. de Witte, with her husband and two
children, and the two teachers, Mme. Pecqoeur and Monsieur Tutardo, moved to a
country place on the other side of the Volga, near the village of Pokrovskoye.38 They
returned to Saratov in the middle of December for the rest of the Winter of 1846-
In the beginning of May, 1847, the children, accompanied by Catherine A. de
Witte and Antonya Kühlwein started on their journey to Tiflis, to rejoin their
grandparents. With no railways or paved roads, such a journey was a very serious
venture. They first went down the Volga on the SS. St. Nicholas, stopping for two
days at Astrakhan. From there they sailed on the SS. Teheran along the coast of the
Caspian Sea as far as Baku, where they arrived on May 21st o.s., and the very next
day started for Tiflis in horse-drawn carriages.40 On the 23rd they reached Shemaha
and remained there for about a month with their grandparents and aunt Nadyezhda,
who had come to meet them.41 In the middle of June the journey to Tiflis was
resumed, via Ah-su, the Shemaha pass, and across the river Kura which they forded at
Minguichaur, staying a day at Elizabethpol’. They reached Tiflis towards the end of
Late in the Summer of the same year the family went to Borzhom, a resort on
the estate of Grand Duke Mihail Nikolayevich, and then to the hot baths of Abbas-
Tuman, staying at Ahaltzih on their way.43 They returned to Tiflis at the end of
August, and occupied the old Sumbatov mansion through the Winter season of 1847-
In the beginning of May, 1848, Helena went with both of her aunts and her uncle
Yuliy F. de Witte, to Pyatigorsk and Kislovodsk for “water cures,” narrowly escaping
disaster from an avalanche between Koyshaur and Kobi.45 At the end of August they
left Pyatigorsk for the German Colony of Elizabethal’ to join the rest of the family
there, going later to Ekatarinenfeld, a water resort.46
38 Ibid., pp. 173 et seq., 198; de Fadeyev, op. Cit.
39 Zhelihovsky, op. cit., p. 213.
40 Zhelihovsky, Moyo otrochestvo, pp. 228-46.
41 Ibid., pp. 249-51.
42 Ibid., pp. 251-58.
43 Ibid., pp. 263-66.
44 Ibid., pp. 269-77.
45 Ibid., p. 277.
46 Ibid., pp. 290-92.
Page xxxv
The Winter season of 1848-49 was spent at Tiflis in the mansion of the old
Princes Chavchavadze. During that Winter Helena became betrothed to Nikifor
Vassilyevich Blavatsky.47
In the Spring or early Summer of 1849, Helena appears to have run away from
home, possibly following a certain Prince Golitzin, a student of the occult, regarding
whom very little information is available. According to Madame M. G. Yermolova,
this escapade had some connection with the prospective marriage plans, but the truth
about it is not known.48
At the end of June, the whole family, including uncle Rostislav, went to Gerger,
in the vicinity of Yerivan’, and thence to the settlement of Dzhelal-ogli (Kamenka)
for the marriage ceremony.49
47 Zhelihovsky, Moyo otrochestvo, pp. 293-96.
48 E. F. Pissareva, H. P. Blavatsky. A Biographical Sketch (Russian text), 2nd rev. ed., Geneva,
Editorial Offices of Vestnik, 1937, pp. 36-38; Madame Pogosky, The Theosophist, Vol. XXXIV,
July, 1913.
49 Zhelihovsky, op. cit., pp. 296-98; de Fadeyev, op. cit., II, 113.
50 Nikifor Vassilyevich Blavatsky was born in 1809, and belonged to the landed gentry of the
Province of Poltava in the Ukraine. He attended the Poltava Gymnasium for the Gentry, and became
at the end of 1823 a clerk in the Office of the Civil Governor of Poltava. In 1829 he was transferred
to Georgia, Caucasus, in the same capacity. In 1830 he served for some months on the Staff of the
Commander in Chief, Field Marshal Count Paskevich-Yerivansky, and until 1835 was Assistant
Journalist in that Office. He was then temporarily attached to the Office of the Commissary of the
Active Army, and in 1839 was transferred to the Office of the Civil Government of Trans-Caucasia.
In 1840 he became Inspector of the Police at Shemaha. In 1842-43 he was Head of various uyezds
in the Caucasus. After a short residence in Persia, he was appointed Nov. 27, 1849, Vice-Governor
of the newly formed Province of Yerivan’, and governed it during the absence of the Military
Governor. In 1857 he was temporarily appointed to an International Committee to investigate
controversial issues concerning the frontiers.
In the Summer of 1860 he was given a two months leave of absence and went to Berlin for
treatments. This he repeated the following Summer. He resigned as Vice-Governor Nov. 19, 1860,
and was assigned to the Central Administration Office of the Viceroy. His resignation from all
positions was accepted in Dec., 1864. At that time he had a small estate in the Province of Poltava,
and stated in a contemporary document that he was still married. (Cf. Service Record
Page xxxvi
It was there that Helena married N. V. Blavatsky,50 July 7, 1849, leaving with
her husband the same day for Darachichag (meaning “valley of flowers”), a mountain
resort near Yerivan’.51 The actual date is given by Sinnett,52 and may be “old style.”
She tried to escape during this trip.53 The months of July and August must have been
spent in that resort, where the newly-weds were visited at the end of August by
Helena’s aunts and grandparents. After a brief visit, they all went to Yerivan’, visiting
on their way the ancient monastery of Echmiadzin.54
The stories of Helena’s horseback rides around Mount Ararat and the
neighboring countryside probably belong to this period, when she was accompanied
by a Kurd tribal chief named Safar Ali Bek Ibrahim Bek Ogli, who was detailed as
her personal escort, and who once saved her life.
It is improbable that the real reason or purpose underlying Helena’s early and
rather strange marriage will ever definitely be known, and it is certainly unwise to
accept too readily certain alleged reasons that have been advanced to explain it.
According to Madame Pissareva,55 this marriage to a middle-aged and unloved man,
with whom she could have nothing in common, can be explained by a keen desire to
gain more freedom.
drawn up in 1864, and which is on file in the Central State Historical Archives of the U.S.S.R.)
Throughout his career, N. V. Blavatsky served in civilian capacities, and his civilian rank was no
higher than that of Civil Councillor (statsky sovyetnik), which was granted to him Dec. 9, 1856.
All efforts to ascertain the year of N. V. Blavatsky’s death have proved fruitless. It is known,
however, from a letter written by Nadyezhda A. de Fadeyev to H.P.B. and dated October 1/13, 1877,
that he was alive then and living in Poltava.
51 Zhelihovsky, op. cit., pp. 298-99.
52 Although the year of Helena’s marriage has been stated by various writers to have been 1848,
and even she herself wrote to Prince Dondukov-Korsakov that it took place “during the Spring of
1848” (H.P.B. Speaks, II, 64), nevertheless, a careful month-by-month account of events written by
her own sister, Vera Petrovna de Zhelihovsky (My Adolescence), establishes, the date as 1849. Vera
specifically states that when the family went to Gerger for the Summer—and this was prior to
Helena’s marriage—her cousin, Serguey Yulyevich de Witte (the future Prime Minister), had just
been born, and this event occured June 17/29, 1849.
53 Incidents, etc., pp. 56-57.
54 Zhelihovsky, op. cit., p. 303; Col. Henry S. Olcott, People from the Other World, Hartford,
Conn., American Publ. Co., 1875, p. 320.
55 The Theosophist, Vol. XXXIV, January, 1913.
Page xxxvii
According to the account of her aunt, Nadyezhda A. de Fadeyev,56 Helena had been
defied one day by her governess to find any man who would be her husband, in view
of her temper and disposition. The governess, to emphasize her taunt, said that even
the old man she had found so ugly and had laughed at so much, calling him a
“plumeless raven,” would refuse her as a wife. That was too much for Helena, and
three days later she made him propose. This version seems to be somewhat
corroborated by H.P.B. herself,57 although it would appear that she was under the
impression she could “disengage” herself just as easily as she had become “engaged.”
However, a completely false judgment could result on this subject, unless
special attention is given to a letter written by H.P.B. to her friend, Prince Dondukov-
Korsakov, in which somewhat obscure but nevertheless half transparent occult hints
are given in connection with this marriage. The student must be left to his own
intuition to unravel the nature of these hints, which H.P.B. very likely did not wish to
explain with any degree of detail.58 Whatever may have been the real reason and
purpose, superficial judgment based primarily upon printed or written statements, or
the speculations of others, is bound to lead one astray in this matter.
In October 1849, Helena left her husband and started on horseback for Tiflis to
rejoin her relatives. The family decided to send her to her father who at the time was
apparently in the vicinity of St. Petersburg, having recently remarried.59 He was to
meet her at Odessa. Accompanied by two servants, she was sent by land to catch the
steamer at Poti on the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus. Helena contrived in some
way or other to miss the boat. Instead, she boarded the English vessel SS.
Commodore, then in the harbor, and through a liberal outlay of money persuaded the
skipper to fall in with her plans. Accompanied by her servants, she took passage for
Kerch in the Crimea. The steamer was due to proceed from there to Taganrog, on the
Sea of Azov, and thence to Constantinople.
56 Sinnett, Incidents, etc., p. 54.
57 Sinnett, Letters, etc., p. 157.
58 H.P.B. Speaks, II, 61-65.
59 Zhelihovsky, Moyo otrochestvo, p. 299. He had married Baroness von Lange (d. 1851).
Page xxxviii
Arriving at Kerch, Helena sent her servants ashore to procure apartments and prepare
for her landing the following morning. In the night, however, she sailed on the SS.
Commodore for Taganrog and Constantinople.60 At this point began a long period of
wandering all over the world extremely difficult to trace in any coherent manner.
On arrival at Constantinople, Helena seems to have run into some trouble with
the skipper and had to go ashore in a caique with the connivance of the steward. In
the city she met an old family friend, a Countess K—(most likely Kisselev).61
It would seem that the rest of the year 1849 and part of 1850 were spent by
Helena travelling in Greece, various parts of Eastern Europe, Egypt and Asia Minor,
probably in the company of Countess Kisselev, at least part of the time.62 It is
possible that during this period she met at Cairo the Copt occultist, Paulos Metamon.
Helena’s own statement that her life was saved in Greece by an Irishman named
Johnny O’Brien may refer to this period also, even though she places this event in
The period of 1850-51 presents many uncertainties. Helena must have been in
Paris sometime during this period; also in London where she met a friend of the
family, Princess Bagration-Muhransky;64 she may have made some short tours on
the Continent;65 she speaks66 of being alone in London in the early part of 1851, and
living in Cecil St. in furnished rooms, then at the Mivart’s (now Claridge’s) Hotel
with the Princess. After the latter had left, she continued to stay there with her
demoiselle de compagnie; she also speaks of having lived in a large hotel somewhere
between the City and the Strand.67
60 Sinnett, Incidents, etc., pp. 57-58
61 Sinnett, op. cit., pp. 58-59.
62 Ibid., pp. 58-60; Olcott, Old Diary Leaves, I, p. 432; Scrapbook, Vol. I, p. 48; The Theosophist,
Vol. V, April, 1884, pp. 167-68; Olcott, People from the Other World, pp. 328-32; Isis Unveiled,
Vol. I, pp. 382, 474.
63 H.P.B. to Georgina Johnston, undated but written from London in 1887.
64 Sinnett, op.cit., p. 61.
65 lbid., p. 62.
66 Sinnett, Letters, etc., p. 150.
67 Sinnett, Letters, etc., p. 150; H.P.B. Speaks, Vol. II, Adyar, The Theos. Publ. House, 1951, pp.
Page xxxix
H.P.B. told Countess Constance Wachtmeister that she met her Teacher, Master
M., in the physical body for the first time in London, and that this took place in Hyde
Park,68 “in the year of the first Nepal Embassy,” as she told Sinnett.69 The embassy
of the Nepal Prime Minister, Prince Jung Bahâdur Koonwar Rânajee, took place in
1850; his party left Calcutta April 7, 1850, and sailed from Marseilles to Calcutta
December 19th of the same year. The approximate time when H.P.B. met her Master
would therefore be in the Summer of 1850. However, in her Sketchbook, now in the
Adyar Archives, H.P.B. says that she met her Teacher at Ramsgate, on her twentieth
birthday, August 12, 1851. She informed Countess Wachtmeister, however, that
“Ramsgate” was a blind.70 In connection with both of these dates we run into several
difficulties. According to the Countess, H.P.B.’s father was in London at the time, and
H.P.B. consulted him about the Master’s offer to co-operate “in a work which he was
about to undertake.” From H.P.B.’s sister’s account of their youthful years, however,
one gathers the impression that their father, who became a widower for a second time
in 1851, was then in Russia. Writing to Sinnett,71 H.P.B. herself says that she was
alone in London in 1851, and not with her father. Moreover, the Countess states that,
after meeting the Master, H.P.B. soon left London for India.72 This, however, could
refer to the year 1854 when she met her Teacher in London once again.
It is fairly certain or at least probable that H.P.B. went to Canada sometime in
the Fall of 1851, to study the Indians, and stayed at Quebec.73 From there she went
to New Orleans, to study the practice of Voodoo; she was warned in a vision of the
dangers connected with Voodooism. She then proceeded through Texas to Mexico;
she speaks of a Père Jacques, an old Canadian she met in Texas, who saw her through
some perils to which she was then exposed. During this period she seems to have
received a legacy of some 80,000 rubles from “one of her godmothers.”74
68 Countess Constance Wachtmeister, Reminiscences of H. P. Blavatsky and “The Secret Doctrine,”
London, Theos. Publ. Society, 1893, pp. 56-58.
69 Sinnett, op. cit., p. 150.
70 Wachtmeister, op. cit., p. 58, footnote.
71 Sinnett, Letters, etc., p. 150
72 Wachtmeister, op. cit., p. 57.
73 Sinnett, Incidents, etc., p. 62.
74 According to the tradition of the Greek Orthodox Church, it was permitted to have more than one
“godmother” or “godfather,” but ordinarily there was only one of each.
Page xl
She bought some land in America, but did not remember where and lost all papers
connected therewith.75
Her travels continued during the year 1852. On her way to South America,
H.P.B. met a Hindu chela at Copán, Honduras. She must have travelled extensively
through both Central and South America, visiting ancient ruins. She speaks of having
“business relations” with an old native priest of Peru, and to have travelled with him
or another Peruvian in the interior of the land.76
Sometime during 1852 she went to the West Indies; she had written to “a certain
Englishman” whom she had met in Germany two years before, and whom she knew
to be on the same quest as hers, to join her in the West Indies, in order to go to the
Orient together. Both the Englishman and the Hindu chela apparently joined her
there, and all three went via the Cape to Ceylon, and thence in a sailing boat to
After their arrival at Bombay, the party dispersed. H.P.B. was bent on an attempt
to get into Tibet through Nepal alone. This first attempt failed through what she
believed to be the opposition of the British Resident. When she tried to cross the
Rangit river, she was reported by a guard to Captain C. Murray, who went after her
and brought her back. She stayed with Captain and Mrs. Murray for about a month,
then left and was heard from as far as Dinâjpur.78 She says that she stayed in India
“nearly two years, receiving money each month from an unknown source.”79
H.P.B. appears to have gone to Southern India, and thence to Java and
Singapore, apparently on her way back to England.80 From a certain statement of
hers, it would appear that she took passage on the SS. Gwalior “which was wrecked
near the Cape,” and was saved with about twenty others.81
75 Sinnett, op.cit., pp. 62-65; Letter from H.P.B. to Sydney and Herbert Coryn, November 2, 1889.
76 Sinnett, op.cit., p. 66; Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled, I, 546-48, 595-99.
77 Sinnett, Incidents, etc., pp. 65-66; Sinnett, Letters, etc., p. 157.
78 Sinnett, Incidents, etc., p. 66; Olcott, Old Diary Leaves, I, 265; The Theosophist, Vol. XIV, April,
1893, pp. 429-31: “Traces of H.P.B.,” by Col. H. S. Olcott.
79 H.P.B. Speaks, Vol. II, p. 20.
80 Sinnett, Incidents, etc., p. 66.
81 H.P.B. Speaks, Vol. II, p. 20. This steamship, however, could not be identified in the records of
Lloyds of London.
Page xli
Her sister Vera speaks of her musical talents and of the fact that she was a
member of the Philharmonic Society in London. This could have occurred at this
period, sometime in 1853.82
On September 14/26, 1853, Turkey declared war on Russia, and the English and
French Fleets entered the Black Sea in late December. According to the testimony of
her sister, H.P.B. was detained in England by a contract, and this was during the
Crimean War.83 Nevertheless, it was not until April 11/23, 1854, that Emperor
Nicholas I issued a public Manifesto regarding a declaration of war against England
and France. The Allies decided upon an expedition to the Crimea on August 14th,
It is almost certain that H.P.B. was in London in the Summer of 1854, because
she says that she met her Master “in the house of a stranger in England, where he had
come in the company of a dethroned native prince.” This was undoubtedly Prince
Dhuleep Singh, Mahârâja of Lahore.84 The latter, a son of the famed Ranjît Singh,
sailed from India April 19, 1854, accompanied by his guardian, Sir John Login. They
arrived at Southampton on the SS. Colombo, Sunday, June 18, 1854, and the Prince
was presented to the Queen July 1st. If H.P.B.’s statement is not a blind, we have here
a fairly accurate date in an otherwise very uncertain period in her travels.
Somewhat later in the Summer or Fall of 1854, H.P.B. set out for America again,
landing in New York. She went to Chicago and across the Rockies to San Francisco,
with a caravan of emigrants, probably in a covered wagon.85 It is not clear whether
she went to South America on this trip, but it is likely that she remained on the
American Continent until the Fall of 1855.
82 Rebus, St. Petersburg, No. 40, 1883, p. 357.
83 Ibid.
84 “From the Caves and Jungles of Hindostan,” Chapter XXI, first published in Moskovskiya
Vedomosty (Moscow Chronicle), April 29, 1880; Sir John Login and Dhuleep Singh, by Lady
Login; Illustrated London News, Sat., June 24, 1854: “A Distinguished Foreigner”; also issue of
July 8, 1854; The Morning Chronicle, Monday, June 19, 1854.
85 Sinnett, Incidents, etc., pp. 66-67. It was probably during this trip West that H.P.B. stayed
overnight with Mrs. Emmeline Blanche (Woodward) Wells, Editor and Publisher of The Woman’s
Exponent, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mrs. E. B. Wells (1828-1921) belonged to a Mormon family. We
have from her pen a volume of poems, Musings and Memories (Salt Lake City: C. Q. Cannon &
Sons Co., 1896; 2nd ed., publ. by “The Desert News,” 1915). Mrs. Daisie Woods Allen, who was
Mrs. Wells’ granddaughter, was told about H.P.B.’s visit by her grandmother who also mentioned
the fact that H.P.B. was at the time wearing heavy men’s shoes as she intended to travel over rugged
country. On the testimony of “old-timers,” H.P.B. resided also for a while in Santa Fe. New Mexico,
though this may have been during a previous trip.
Page xlii
She then left for India via Japan and the Straits, landing at Calcutta.86
H.P.B. engaged in widespread travel throughout India. At Lahore she met a
German ex-Lutheran minister by the name of Kühlwein, known to her father
(possibly a relative of their governess), and his two companions, the Brothers N——,
all of whom had formed the plan to penetrate Tibet under various disguises. They
went together through Kashmîr to Leh, the chief city of Ladak, at least part of the
time accompanied by a Tartar Shaman who was on his way home to Siberia.
According to Sinnett, H.P.B. crossed into Tibetan territory, with the help of this
Shaman, while the others were prevented from carrying out their plan.87 Finding
herself in a critical situation, she was rescued by some Lamaist horsemen apprized of
the situation by the Shaman’s thought.88
These adventures have been connected by A. P. Sinnett and other writers with
those described in Isis Unveiled.89 The latter narrative concerns the exhibition of
psychological powers by a Shaman. This description mentions the neighorhood of
Islamâbâd (Anantnag) which is considerably West of Leh, in the Kashmîr Valley, or
away from Tibetan territory, and curiously enough, the sandy deserts of Mongolia,
which geographically are thousands of miles away. Moreover Ladak is spoken of as
Central Tibet. All this gives rise to much confusion so that no definite picture can be
Moreover, we are confronted by various additional difficulties, some of them
geographical. Ladak (or Ladakh) and Baltistan are provinces of Kashmîr, and the
name of Ladak belongs primarily to the broad valley of the upper Indus, but includes
also several surrounding districts in political connection with it. It is bounded North
by the Kuenlun range and the slopes of the Karakorum, North-West and West by
Baltistan which has been known as Little Tibet, South-West by Kashmîr proper,
South by what used to be British Himâlayan territory, and East by the Tibetan
provinces of Ngari and Rudog.
86 Sinnett, Incidents, etc., p. 67.
87 Sinnett, Incidents, etc., pp. 67-69.
88 Ibid., pp. 67-72.
89 Vol. II, pp. 598-602, 626-28.
Page xliii
The entire region is very high, the valleys of Rupshu and the South-East being 15,000
feet, and the Indus near Leh some 11,000 feet, while the average height of the
surrounding ranges is some 20,000 feet.
Leh (11,550 feet) is the capital of Ladak, and the road to Leh from Srinagar lies
up the lovely Sind valley to the sources of the river at the Pass of Zoji La (11,580 ft.)
in the Zaskar range. From Leh there are several routes into Tibet, the best known
being that from the Indus valley to the Tibetan plateau, by the Chang La, to Lake and
Pangong and Rudog (14,900 ft.).
The extremes of altitudes with their corresponding harsh climatic conditions as
well as the barrenness of the land must be taken into account.
H.P.B. seems to have travelled also in Burma, Siam and Assam,90 and must
have contracted a “fearful fever” near Rangoon, “after a flood of the Irrawaddy
River,” but was cured by a native who used an herb.91
On May 10, 1857, the Sepoy Mutiny erupted in a revolt at Meerut, but H.P.B.
seems to have left India by then; she went in a Dutch vessel from Madras to Java,
going there on orders from her Teacher, “for a certain business,” as she said.92
H.P.B. must have returned to Europe sometime in 1858, possibly in the early
part of the year, and travelled through France and Germany, before returning to
Russia.93 In February, 1858, her sister’s first husband, Nikolay Nikolayevich de
Yahontov, died, and the widow went with her two infant sons to live temporarily with
her father-in-law, General N. A. de Yahontov, prior to moving to her own estate.
While her sister gives an account of H.P.B.’s unexpected arrival at Pskov on
Christmas Night, 1858, it is known from another source94 that she must have
returned to Russian soil somewhat earlier, perhaps in the late Fall of 1858.
This concludes a major cycle in H.P.B.’s career.
90 The Theosophist, Vol. XXXI, July, 1910.
91 Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled, II, 621.
92 Sinnett, Letters, etc., p. 151; Sinnett, Incidents, etc., p. 72.
93 Sinnett, Incidents, etc., pp. 72, 74.
94 A letter written by Nikifor V. Blavatsky to Nadyezhda A. de Fadeyev, and dated Nov. 13 (o.s.),
1858. The original is in the Adyar Archives; text was published in The Theosophist, Vol. 80, August,
Page xliv
After a fairly short stay at Pskov, during which H.P.B.’s psychological powers
became widely known throughout the neighborhood, and produced quite a stir among
the people, she went with her father, and her half-sister Liza,95 to St. Petersburg,
staying at the Hôtel de Paris. This must have been in the Spring of 1859. From there
they all went to Rugodevo, in the Novorzhevsky uyezd, in the Province of Pskov,
where the estate which her sister had recently inherited from her late husband was
While at Rugodevo, H.P.B. became very ill. due to the re-opening of a wound
near her heart, received some years before. This illness seems to have been periodic,
lasting from three to four days, during which she was often in a deathlike trance.
After these attacks she experienced strange and sudden cures.97
In the Spring or Summer of 1860, H.P.B. left with her sister Vera for Tiflis, to
visit their grandparents; they travelled for about three weeks in a coach drawn by post
horses.98 On their way, they stopped at Zadonsk, Province of Voronezh, in the
territory of the Don Cossacks, a place of pilgrimage where the relies of St. Tihon are
preserved. They had an interview with Isidore, then Metropolitan of Kiev, whom
H.P.B. had known some years earlier when he was Exarch of Georgia. Becoming
aware of her psychological powers the nature of which he seemed to understand.
Isidore told her prophetically that she would do a great deal of good to her fellowmen
if she used these powers with discrimination.99
It is known that, while at Tiflis, in the Caucasus, H.P.B. lived for about a year in
the house of her grandparents, the old Chavchavadze mansion.
95 H.P.B.’s father, Col. Peter A. von Hahn, had married a second time, a Baroness von Lange, by
whom he had a daughter, Elizabeth Petrovna (1850-1908); she married Kiril Ivanovich Beliy (d.
96 Sinnett, Incidents etc., pp. 91, 115-116; Rebus No. 4, 1885, p. 41; No. 41, 1883, p. 367; No. 44,
1883, p. 397; Letter of H.P.B. to Sydney and Herbert Coryn, Nov. 2. 1889.
97 Sinnett, op. cit., p. 134: Rebus. No. 44, 1883 pp. 399-400.
98 Sinnett, op. cit., p. 135; Sinnett, Letters etc., p. 151; V. P. Zhelihovsky, Biographical Sketch of
H.P.B. in Lucifer. London, Vol. XV, November, 1894, p. 206: Rebus, No. 46, 1883, p. 418.
99 Sinnett, Incidents etc., pp. 137-38; Lucifer. Vol. XV, November, 1894, p. 207; Rebus, No. 46,
1883, p. 418.
Page xlv
On August 12/24, 1860, her grandmother, Helena Pavlovna de Fadeyev, passed
From some sources it would be easy to get the impression that H.P.B.’s marriage
to N. V. Blavatsky had been annulled, or at least that steps had been taken to do so.
However, in a letter to Prince Dondukov-Korsakov, she states that after returning to
Tiflis, she was reconciled with Blavatsky and, after staying with her grandfather,
lived with Blavatsky for about a year, on Golovinsky Avenue, in the house of
It would appear from her own statements,102 that she left Tiflis in 1863, and
went for a while to Zugdidi and Kutais, returning thence to Tiflis again, to live for
another year with her grandfather.
During these years in the Caucasus, H.P.B. travelled and lived at one time or
another in Imeretia, Guriya and Mingreliya, in the virgin forests of Abhasia, and
along the Black Sea Coast. She seems to have studied with native kudyani, or
magicians, and to have become widely known for her healing powers. At one time
she was at Zugdidy and Kutais.103 For a while she was in the military settlement of
Ozurgety, in Mingrelia, and even bought a house there.104 She engaged in
commercial enterprises, such as the floating of lumber and the export of nut-treespunk.
105 Sometime during this stay in the Caucasus she was thrown from a horse,
sustaining a fracture of the spine. It is during this period in her life that her
psychological powers became much stronger and she brought them under the
complete control of her will.106 While at Ozurgety, she had a severe illness; on
orders of the local physician, she was taken in a native boat down the river Rion to
100 Sinnett, op.cit., pp. 140-143; Gen. P. S. Nikolayev in Istorichesky Vestnik, St. Petersburg, Vol.
VI, December, 1885, pp. 623-24; Rebus, No. 6, 1885, p. 61.
101 H.P.B. Speaks, Vol. II, pp. 152, 156.
102 Ibid., p. 156.
103 H.P.B. Speaks, Vol. II, p. 156.
104 Sinnett, Incidents, etc., pp. 143-148; Sinnett, Letters, etc., p. 156; Lucifer, Vol. XV, December,
1894, p. 273.
105 Rebus, No. 46, 1883, p. 418.
106 Sinnett, Incidents, etc., p. 146; Rebus, loc. Cit.
Page xlvi
She was then transported in a carriage to Tiflis, apparently near death; soon after,
however, she had another of her sudden cures, but remained convalescent for some
time.107 For a while her uncle, Gen. Rostislav A. de Fadeyev, was gravely concerned
about her condition.108 The seriousness and probable occult nature of her illness is
clearly hinted at when she states that “between the Blavatsky of 1845-65 and the
Blavatsky of the years 1865-82 there is an unbridgeable gulf.”109
Just exactly how and under what circumstances H.P.B. acquired a ward by the
name of Yury remains wrapped in mystery, except for the fact that she states this was
done to protect the honor of another. That this coincided at least approximately with
the period in her life now under consideration, is evidenced by a Passport issued to
her on August 23(o.s.), 1862, in the city of Tiflis, signed by Orlovsky, Civil Governor.
It states that this document was given “in pursuance of a petition presented by her
husband, to the effect that she, Mme. Blavatsky, accompanied by their infant ward
Yury, proceeds to the provinces of Tauris, Cherson and Pskoff for the term of one
year.”110 It is not known whether such a trip was ever undertaken. On the other hand,
H.P.B. wrote111 that during the Summer of 1865 she was at Petrovsk, in the
Daghestan region of the Caucasus, where she witnessed one of the ghastly rituals of a
native sect. From this we may infer that she was in the Caucasus at least until the
Summer of 1865, especially as she definitely states that she “left for Italy in 1865 and
never returned again to the Caucasus.”112
After leaving Russia she began to travel again; no comprehensive account of this
period is possible, however, because of contradictory data and often complete lack of
definite information.
She may have spent some time travelling in various parts of the Balkans, Servia
and the Karpat Mountains, going later to Greece and Egypt.113 It is probable that she
also went to Syria, the Lebanon, and possibly Persia.
107 Sinnett, ibid., pp. 148-50; The Path, New York, Vol. X, May, 1895, pp. 34-35.
108 The Path, Vol. X, May, 1895, p. 33.
109 H.P.B. Speaks, Vol. II, p. 58.
110 The original of this Passport was in the Archives of the Point Loma Theosophical Society; a
copy of it exists in the Archives at Adyar.
111 Isis Unveiled, Vol. II, p. 568, footnote.
112 H.P.B. Speaks, Vol. II, p. 156. H.P.B.’s sister, however, gives the date of 1864, as appears from
H.P.B.’s manuscript translation of her sister’s account, “The Truth about H. P. Blavatsky.”
113 Sinnett, Letters, etc., p. 151; Lucifer, Vol. XV. December, 1894, p. 273.
Page xlvii
It may be that it was during this period that she became a member of the Druzes and
possibly of other mystic orders of Asia Minor. She indicated that she had also been in
Italy around that time, “studying with a witch,” whatever that may mean.114
To this period belong her travel-notes written in French and contained in a small
Notebook now in the Adyar Archives. Although these notes are undated, H.P.B.
mentions one or two historical facts which provide a key to the dating of the trip she
describes. It appears that she was at Belgrade when the Turkish garrison yielded the
Fort and the commander, Al Rezi Pasha, withdrew from the territory. This was April
13, 1867. H.P.B. travelled by boat on the Danube, and by coach between various
towns of Hungary and Transylvania; she visited, among others, Brassó, Szeben,
Fehérvár, Kolozsvár, Nagyvárad, Temesvár, Belgrade, Neusatz, Eszék, etc. These
travel-notes are the only definite information concerning her whereabouts during a
period which presents a great deal of uncertainty.
Later in 1867, H.P.B. apparently went to Bologna, Italy, still having her care
Yury to whom she was greatly attached; he was in poor health and she was trying to
save his life.115 He died, however, and H.P.B. returned to Southern Russia for a very
short visit for the purpose of burying her ward, but did not notify her relatives about
being in her homeland. She then returned to Italy on the same passport.116
After her travels in the Balkan states, she went to Venice,117 and was definitely
present at the battle of Mentana, November 2, 1867, where she was wounded five
times; her left arm was broken in two places by a saber stroke, and she had a musket
bullet imbedded in her right shoulder and another in her leg.118
In the beginning of the year 1868, H.P.B. was in Florence, on her way to India
through Constantinople.119 She went from Florence to Antivari and towards
Belgrade, where she waited, on order of her Teacher, in the mountains, before
proceeding to Constantinople; she may have been in the Karpat Mountains and Servia
once again.120
114 Sinnett, ibid., p. 154.
115 Sinnett, Letters, etc., p. 144; Sinnett, Incidents, etc., p. 150.
116 Sinnett, Letters, etc., p. 144.
117 Ibid., p. 144; The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, p. 478.
118 Olcott, Old Diary Leaves, Vol. I, pp. 9, 263, 264; Scrapbook, Vol. I, p. 17; Sinnett, Letters, etc.,
pp. 144, 151, 152, 153. The Theosophist, Vol. XV, October, 1893, p. 16.
119 Sinnett, op. cit., pp. 151-52.
120 Ibid., p. 152.
Page xlviii
She says she was at Belgrade some three months before the murder of the
Hospodar, Prince Mihailo Obrenovi of Serbia, which took place June 10, 1868.121
It is presumed that H.P.B. went via India to some parts of Tibet, and that this
was sometime in 1868; mention has been made of her crossing the Kuenlun
Mountains and going via Lake Palti (Yamdok-Tso),122 although geographically this
is inconsistent. It is on this journey to Tibet that she met Master K. H. for the first
time, and lived in the house of his sister at Shigadze.123 This may have been the
period when she spent some seven weeks in the forests not far from the Karakorum
The subject of H.P.B.’s stay in Tibet is wrapped—conceivably for good and
sufficient reasons of her own—in considerable mystery. It is probable that we will
never know just exactly when and how many times she penetrated this territory.
However, to counter any unfriendly critic who may attempt to deny the fact that she
was ever in Tibet, we have from her own pen a very specific statement when she
“. . . I have lived at different periods in Little Tibet as in Great Tibet, and . . .
these combined periods form more than seven years . . . What I have said, and repeat
now, is, that I have stopped in Lamaistic convents; that I have visited Tzi-gadze, the
Tashi-Lhünpo territory and its neighbourhood, and that I have been further in, and in
such places of Tibet as have never been visited by any other European, and that he
can ever hope to visit.”125
It is important to bear in mind, that while H.P.B. penetrated far into Tibet proper,
it does not mean that every time she mentions being in Tibet, she necessarily means
Tibet proper, as Ladakh used to be known as Little Tibet, and the term Tibet was used
in a very general manner.
Towards the end of 1870, namely, on November 11th, her aunt, Miss Nadyezhda
Andreyevna de Fadeyev, received the first known letter from Master K. H. stating
that H.P.B. was well and would be back in the family before “18 moons” shall have
121 Ibid., pp. 151-53; Collected Writings, Vol. I, “A Story of the Mystical.”
122 Sinnett, Letters, etc., p. 215.
123 Ibid., pp. 153, 215.
124 The Path, Vol. IX, January, 1895, p. 299.
125 Light, London, Vol. IV, No. 188, August 9, 1884, pp. 323-24. Cf. Collected Writings, Vol. VI. p.
1829-1919 H.P.B.’s favorite aunt with whom she kept a steady correspondence
through the years, and who visited her many times abroad. This portrait is preserved
in the Adyar Archives.
Page xlix
H.P.B. returned to Europe via the Suez Canal which was opened for travel on
November 17, 1869, and passed through it sometime towards the end of 1870,
possibly in December.126 She vent to Cyprus and Greece and saw Master Hillarion
there.127 She embarked for Egypt at the port of Piraeus, on the SS Eunomia, plying
between the Piraeus and Nauplia. Ships were provided in those days with guns and
gunpowder as a protection against pirates. Between the islands of Dokos and Hydra,
in the sight of the island of Spetsai, in the Gulf of Nauplia. the ship’s powder
magazine blew up, July 4, 1871, with a considerable loss of life; H.P.B., however,
was uninjured. The Greek Government provided the survivors passage to their
destination, and so H.P.B. finally reached Alexandria, with hardly any means at all.
She seems to have won some money, however, on what she calls “No. 27” and went
to Cairo sometime in October or November, 1871. She stayed at the Hôtel d’Orient
where she met Miss Emma Cutting (later Mme. Alexis Coulomb) who was able to
loan her some money for the time being.128
H.P.B. remained in Cairo until about April, 1872. During her stay there, she
organized what she calls a Société Spirite, for the investigation of phenomena; it
would appear that this was done against the advice of Paulos Metamon, a well-known
Coptic mystic and occultist with whom she was in touch at the time.129 The society
proved a dismal failure within a fortnight, and H.P.B. was nearly shot by an insane
Greek who was obseseed.130 At one time or another, she lived in Bulak, near the
She then went to Syria, Palestine and Constantinople; she seems to have been at
Palmyra; between Baalbek and the river Orontes, she met Countess Lydia
Alexandrovna de Pashkov, and went with her to Dair Mar Maroon between the
Lebanon and the Anti Lebanon Mountains.131
126 The Theosophist, Vol. XXXIV, July, 1913, p. 476.
127 Sinnett, Letters, etc., p. 153.
128 Sinnett, op. cit., pp. 153, 215; Incidents, etc., p. 157. Also Greek newspapers of the time.
129Dr. A. L. Rawson, “Madame Blavatsky: A Theosophical Occult Apology,” Frank Leslie’s
Popular Monthly, XXXIII, Feb., 1892.
130 Sinnett, Incidents, etc., pp. 158-69; The Theosophist, Vol. XV, Supplement, November, 1883, p.
ix; Olcott, Old Diary Leaves, I, 23; J. M. Peebles, Around the World, 1874, p. 272.
131 Sinnett, Incidents, etc., pp. 167-68; Olcott, op. cit., I, 334-35.
Page l
She reached Odessa and her family sometime in July, 1872, which would be
some “18 moons” after the receipt of K.H.’s letter. It is difficult to say whether we
can credit Witte’s statement to the effect that she opened an ink factory and an
artificial flower shop at Odessa during her stay there.132
There is some inconclusive information to the effect that H.P.B. made a musical
tour in Russia and Europe, as “Madame Laura” during 1872-73, but this cannot be
considered reliable.133
Her stay in Odessa was short, and she left sometime in April of 1873, going first
to Bucharest to visit her friend, Mme. Popesco.134 From there she proceeded to
Paris, presumably on orders from her Teacher.135 She stayed there with her cousin,
Nikolay Gustavovich von Hahn, son of her paternal uncle Gustav Alexeyevich, at rue
de l’Université 11, and seems to have intended to settle there for some time.136
According to Dr. L. M. Marquette,137 she spent her time in painting and writing, and
established close ties of friendship with Monsieur and Mme. Leymarie.
One day, very soon after her arrival in Paris, H.P.B. received “orders” from the
“Brothers” to go to New York, and sailed the very next day; this must have been
towards the end of June, 1873, as she arrived in New York July 7th.138
H.P.B. was very short of money, and the Russian Consul refused to loan her any
money. She took quarters in a new tenement house, at 222 Madison St., New York,
which was a small experiment in cooperative living launched by some forty women
132 Sinnett, Incidents, etc., p. 168; Letters, etc., pp. 153, 215; H.P.B. Speaks, Vol. I, p. 193.
133 Olcott, op.cit., I, 458 footnote.
134 Sinnett, Letters, etc., pp. 152-54; Incidents, etc., p. 169; H.P.B. Speaks, Vol. II, p. 23.
135 H.P.B. Speaks, loc. Cit.
136 Sinnett, Letters, etc., p. 154; Olcott, op. cit., I, p. 20.
137 Olcott, op. cit., I, pp. 27-28.
138 Sinnett, Letters, etc., p. 154; Olcott, op.cit., I, p. 20; Sinnett, Incidents, etc., p. 175; The Path,
Vol. IX, February, 1895, p. 385.
Page li
The owner of the house, a Mr. Rinaldo, introduced her to two young Jewish friends of
his, and these gave her work designing illustrated advertising-cards; she also seems to
have tried some ornamental leather work, but soon abandoned that and is said to have
made artificial flowers and cravats.139
Some time later, a widow (possibly Mme. Magnon), offered to share her home
in Henry Street with H.P.B. until her financial difficulties ended. She accepted, and
together they inaugurated Sunday meetings at this address.140
It was on July 15/27, 1873, that H.P.B.’s father, Col. Peter A. von hahn, passed
away after only three days of illness. From a letter written to H.P.B. by her half-sister
Liza (dated October 18th, o.s., 1873) her whereabouts were not definitely known to
her family at the time, and so the news about the passing of her father reached her
after a three months’ delay. She also received at the sane time some money, as part of
her portion of the estate. She then moved to the North-East corner of 14th Street and
Fourth Avenue, in a furnished top floor room, where she seems to have had a small
fire.141 She also lived on Union Square and on East 16th Street.142
It would seem that H.P.B. went for a time to Saugus and lived somewhere near
the woods; she also visited Buffalo.143
On June 22, 1874, H.P.B. entered a partnership agreement, purchasing land near
the villages of Newport and Huntington, in Suffolk County, Long Island, in the State
of New York. This was to be a partnership with a French lady by the name of
Clementine Gerebko, and in July, 1874, H.P.B. moved to the farm.144 Inevitably, this
affair ended in a row and a lawsuit, which, by the way, H.P.B. won when the case was
tried by jury, April 26, 1875. Judgment was filed on June 15, 1875, in the Office of
the Clerk of Suffolk County.
It was in July of 1874 that Col. Henry Steel Olcott, while working in his New
York law office, had an urge to find out what was then going on in contemporary
Spiritualism; he bought a copy of the Banner of Light edited in Boston, Mass., and
read in it the account of the phenomena that were taking place at the Eddy farmhouse
in the township of Chittenden, Vermont. He decided to go and see for himself.
139 Olcott, op. cit., I, pp. 20, 472; The Word, Vol. XXII, p. 139: Holt, “A Reminiscence of H. P.
Blavatsky in 1873,” The Theosophist, Vol. LIII, December, 1931.
140 Holt, loc.cit.
141 Holt, op.cit.
142 Olcott, Old Diary Leaves, 1, p. 30.
143 Olcott, op. cit., I, p. 440; H.P.B. .Speaks, Vol. 1, p. 193.
144 Olcott, op. cit., I, pp. 30-31
Page lii
After staying there three or four days, he returned to New York and wrote sometime
in August an account for the New York Sun.145 Then he received a proposal from the
N.Y. Daily Graphic to return to Chittenden to investigate the whole affair thoroughly.
He accepted this proposal,146 and returned to the Eddy farmhouse September 17,
It was on October 14th that H.P.B., acting on instructions received by her,147
and having read Col. Olcott’s accounts in the papers, went to Chittenden, and thus
took place the significant meeting of two of the future Co-Founders of The
Theosophical Society.
145 Ibid., I, p. 113.
146 Ibid., I, pp. 1-5.
147 Letter from H.P.B. to Dr. F. Hartmann, dated April 13, 1886.
Page 1
[There exists no definite evidence that H.P.B. had ever published any articles,
essays or letters to Editors prior to October, 1874. Still the probability of her having
written is considerable, as various statements have been made by herself and others
which seem to indicate that her literary work began much earlier in life than the year
1874. We may never obtain, however, any conclusive evidence concerning this.
There is, for instance, her own reported statement in an interview given by her to
the Daily Graphic of New York, and published November 13, 1874, to the effect that
she was a contributor to the Revue des Deux Mondes of Paris, and acted as
correspondent of the Indépendence Belge and several Parisian Journals. No record of
this exists, however, in the Editorial Offices of these well known periodicals, though
it is possible that she may have written under some pseudonym, or merely as
“correspondent” from one or another part of the world. The text of this interview is of
a rather sensational kind, and embodies a number of errors and misstatements as to
names and events. So it cannot be relied upon.
Then there is a statement made around 1956-57 by a very old gentleman,
Adolphe de Castro, of Los Angeles, California, who had met H.P.B. in Berlin about
1873, to the effect that she was then reading galley-proofs of some articles she had
written in Russian, that he was able to be of help to her with some old Hebrew terms,
and that what she was writing was intended either for a Russian paper or for a local
Jewish Journal, the most likely one being Das Zeitung des Judenthums. The old files
of this Journal have been investigated, as far as this could be done in the holdings of
the British Museum, but no positive result was obtained.
There is also a statement of hers made to her friend, Alexander Nikolayevich
Aksakov, in a letter dated October 28, 1874, to the effect that she translated into
Russian a manuscript by a medium named James, and which was supposed to have
been the second part of Dickens’ unfinished novel, Edwin Drood.
Page 2
She would have liked to have had it published in Russian.*
Wm. M. Ivins, H.P.B.’s lawyer in her lawsuit of 1874-75, said that H.P.B. was
translating Darwin’Origin of Species and H. T. Buckle’s History of Civilization in
England, while the suit was pending.†
All of these various statements may or may not be based on fact. No supporting
evidence for them, however, has ever been found.
In the same letter to A. N. Aksakov mentioned above, H.P.B., having just
returned to New York from a visit to the farmhouse of the Eddy Brothers, at
Chittenden, Vt., says that she has been translating Col. Olcott’s articles on the
mediumistic phenomena of the Eddy Brothers, which he was then contributing to the
pages of the New York Daily Graphic; she says that she could send them to Aksakov
regularly, together with their accompanying illustrations.‡
It is quite probable that H.P.B. did actually translate all of Col. Olcott’s articles
as they appeared, because Aksakov wrote to him on April 4/16, 1875, that he had
finished reading them. It is these articles of Col. Olcott that were eventually
published in book-form, under the title of People from the Other World (Hartford,
Conn.: American Publishing Co., 1875).††
It is not definitely known what became of H.P.B.’s Russian translation of Col.
Olcott’s original articles, and there is no evidence that they were ever published in
any Russian Journal.]
[There is in the Archives of The Theosophical Society at Adyar a small booklet,
seven by eleven inches, of not more than twenty-six pages, three leaves at least
having been torn out. For purposes of identification, we may call it H.P.B.’s
Sketchbook, as it contains mostly drawings and sketches in both ink and pencil, also
mere scrawls and scribbles, with here and there some writing between them.
* Vide Vsevolod S. Solovyov, A Modern Priestess of Isis, Engl. transl., London, 1895, p. 227;
Russian orig., St. Petersburg, 1904, p. 256.
† Unpublished MS. of Mrs. Laura Holloway-Langford, now destroyed.
‡ V. S. Solovyov, op. cit., Engl. tr., pp. 226-27; Russ. orig., p. 256.
†† Old Diary Leaves, First Series, p. 80. The Colonel speaks of H.P.B.’s translation of his “book.”
He most likely means his Series of articles as such, because these did not appear in book-form until
March, 1875.
Page 3
The first page of the booklet, partly reproduced in facsimile, shows in the middle
a pen drawing of a seaside view, most likely Ramsgate, England, and a pen-and-ink
sketch of a coat of arms, not definitely identified but evidently belonging to one or
another branch of the von Hahn Family, as it shows a cock as one of its symbols.
The rest of the page is covered by two columns of two poems in Russian script
whose authorship is unknown. At the top of the page H.P.B. has written in Russian:
“Indistinct Reminiscences.”
The most interesting item on this page is H.P.B.’s French comment written under
the seaside sketch and as a footnote. It is as follows:
“Nuit mémorable! Certaine nuit, par un clair de lune qui se couchait à Ramsgate
12 Août, 1851,* lorsque je rencontrais [symbol] le Maître de mes rêves!!”
* “Le 12 août—c’est juillet 31 style russe jour de ma naissance —Vingt ans!”
Page 4
[The English equivalent of this is:]
“Memorable night! On a certain night by the light of the moon that was setting at
Ramsgate on August 12, 1851,* when I met [symbol] the Master of my dreams!!
* “August 12 is July 31 in Russian style, the day of my birth—Twenty years!”
[This inscription fixes with a considerable degree of probability the time when
this particular booklet was started.
In her Reminiscences of H. P. Blavatsky and “The Secret Doctrine” (pp. 57-58)
Countess Constance Wachtmeister relates an incident that occurred while H.P.B. was
at Würzburg, Germany. It appears that Madame N. A. de Fadeyev, H.P.B.’s aunt, sent
her from Russia a box containing various mementoes. Among these was the abovementioned
booklet which the Countess calls a “scrapbook.” H.P.B., on seeing the
seaside sketch, gave an exclamation of delight and said: “Come and look at this
which I wrote in the year 1851, the day I saw my blessed Master.” The Countess then
quotes the exact French text written by H.P.B. under the sketch. She also adds in a
footnote: “On seeing the manuscript I asked why she had written ‘Ramsgate’ instead
of ‘London,’ and H.P.B. told me that it was a blind, so that anyone casually taking up
her book would not know where she had met her Master, and that her first interview
with him had been in London as she had previously told me.”
The second page of the booklet contains the following brief piece of writing in
. . . Toutes les magnificences de la Nature,—le silence imposant de la nuit, les
odeurs des fleurs,—les rayons pâles de la lune à travers les panaches verts des arbres,
—les étoiles, fleurs de feu semées dans le ciel, les lucioles, fleurs de feu semées dans
l’herbe,—tout cela a été créé pour rendre l’Adepte digne de la NATURE, au moment
où, pour la première fois, elle dit à l’Homme, je t’appartiens,—mot formé d’un
céleste parfum de l’âme, qui s’exale et monte au ciel avec les parfums des fleurs,—
moment, le seul de sa vie,—où il est roi, où il est Dieu, moment qu’il paye et qu’il
expie par toute une existence de regrets amers.
« Ce moment; c’est le prix de toutes nos misères».
[This text has been altered by H.P.B. at one time or another.
Page 5
The words “l’Adepte digne de la NATURE” are in red ink and are superimposed over
the original words “le monde digne de l’homme” written in black ink. The words
“elle dit à l’Homme, je t’appartiens” are also in red ink and superimposed over the
original words “il dit à une femme—je t’aime” written in black ink.]
[English translation of the above:]
. . . . All the glories of Nature—the imposing silence of the night; the aroma of
the flowers; the pale rays of the moon rough the green tufts of the trees; the stars,
flowers of fire strewn over the sky; the glow-worms, flowers of fire strewn over the
grass—all these have been created to render the Adept worthy of NATURE, at that
moment when for the first time she exclaims to Man, “I am yours,”—words formed
of a divine perfume from the soul, which, breathed forth ascends to heaven together
with the perfume of the flowers—the one moment of his life when he is king, when
he is God; the moment which he expiates and pays for with a whole life of bitter
“That moment—it is the price of all our miseries.”
[Page 3 of the booklet, aside from meaningless scrawls, contains the following
few words also in French:]
La femme trouve son bonheur dans l’acquisition des pouvoirs surnaturels—
l’amour—c’est un vilain rêve, un cauchemar.
[English translation of the above:]
Woman finds her happiness in the acquisition of supernatural powers—love is a
vile dream, a nightmare.
[Page 4 has more scrawls and the address of a Captain Miller, 1, Dragoonguards,
Aldershot. Page 5 has a pencil drawing of a man’s head with his grotesque
shadow on the wall, and a poodle sitting upright on his haunches on a table. Page 6 is
blank, and pages 7 and 8 contain the beautiful “Légende sur la Belle de Nuit” which
is the most important item in this booklet. The text of this Legend written in French is
as follows:]
Page 6
Tout au commencement de la création du Monde et bien avant le péché qui
perdit Ève, un frais buisson vert étendait ses larges feuilles sur le bord d’un ruisseau.
Le soleil, jeune à cette époque, fatigué de ses débuts, se couchait lentement, et tirant
sur lui ses rideaux de brouillards, enveloppait la terre d’ombres profondes et noires;
alors on vit s’épanouir sur une des branches du buisson une modeste fleur; elle
n’avait ni la fraîche beauté de la rose; ni l’orgueil superbe et majestueux du beau lys.
Humble et modeste elle ouvrit ses pétales, et jeta un regard craintif sur le monde du
grand Bouddha. Tout était froid et sombre autour d’elle! Ses compagnes
sommeillaient tout autour courbées sur leurs tiges flexibles; ses camarades, mêmes
filles du même buisson, se détournaient de son regard; les papillons de nuit, amants
volages des fleurs, se reposaient bien un moment sur son sein, puis s’envolaient vers
de plus belles. Un gros scarabé faillit la couper en deux en grimpant sans cérémonie
sur elle à la recherche d’un gîte nocturne, et la pauvre fleur effrayée de son isolement,
et de son abandon au milieu de cette foule indifférente, baissa la tête tristement et
laissa tomber une goute de rosée amère. Mais voilà qu’une petite étoile s’alluma dans
le ciel sombre; ses brillants rayons vifs et doux perçèrent les flots des ténèbres, et
soudain la fleur orpheline se sentit vivifiée et rafraîchie comme par une rosée
bienfaisante . . . toute ranimée elle leva sa corolle et aperçut l’étoile bienveillante.
Aussi reçut-elle ses rayons dans son sein, toute palpitante d’amour et de
reconnaissance Ils l’avaient fait renaître à l’existence.
L’aurore au sourire rose chassa peu à peu les ténèbres et l’étoile fut noyée dans
l’océan de lumière que répandit l’astre du jour; des milliers de fleurs courtisanes le
saluèrent, se baignant avidement dans ses rayons d’or. Il les versait aussi sur la petite
fleur; le grand astre daignait l’envelopper, elle aussi, dans ses baisers de
flammes . . . . mais pleine de souvenir de l’etoile du soir, et de son scintillement
argentin, la fleur reçut froidement les démonstrations du fier soleil.
Page 7
Elle avait encore devant les yeux la lueur douce et affectueuse de l’étoile; elle sentait
encore dans son coeur la goute de rosée bienfaisante et, se détournant des rayons
aveuglants du soleil, elle serra ses pétales et se coucha dans le feuillage tout épais du
buisson paternel. Depuis lors, le jour devint la nuit pour la pauvre fleur, et la nuit le
jour; dès que le soleil apparait, et embrasse de ses flots d’or le ciel et la terre,—la
fleur est invisible; mais une fois le soleil couché, et que, perçant un coin de l’horizon
obscurci, la petite étoile apparait, la fleur la salue joyeusement, joue avec ses rayons
argentins, respire à larges traits sa douce lueur.
Tel est aussi le coeur de beaucoup de femmes. Le premier mot bienveillant, la
première caresse affectueuse, tombant sur son coeur endolori s’y enracinent
profondément; et se sentant toute émue à une parole amicale, elle reste indifférente
aux démonstrations passionnées de l’univers entier. Que le premier soit comme tant
d’autres, qu’il se perde dans des milliers d’astres semblables à lui; le coeur de la
femme saura le découvrir, de près comme de loin, elle suivra avec amour et intérêt
son cours modeste et enverra des bénédictions sur son passage. Elle pourra saluer le
fier soleil, admirer son éclat, mais fidèle et reconnaissante, son coeur appartiendra
pour toujours à une seule étoile.
[English translation of the foregoing French text.]
At the very beginning of the creation of the World, and long before the sin
which became the downfall of Eve, a fresh green shrub spread its broad leaves on the
banks of a rivulet. The sun, still young at that time and tired of its initial efforts, was
setting slowly, and drawing its veils of mists around him, enveloped the earth in deep
and dark shadows.
* [This more descriptive name has been chosen for our flower, instead of the very unromantic
names of four-o’clock and marvel-of-Peru, by which it is known.]
Page 8
Then a modest flower blossomed forth upon a branch of the shrub. She had
neither the fresh beauty of the rose, nor the superb and majestic pride of the beautiful
lily. Humble and modest, she opened her petals and cast an anxious glance on the
world of the great Buddha. All was cold and dark about her! Her companions slept all
around bent on their flexible stems; her comrades, daughters of the same shrub,
turned away from her look; the moths, winged lovers of the flowers, rested but for a
moment on her breast, but soon flew away to more beautiful ones. A large beetle
almost cut her in two as it climbed without ceremony over her, in search for nocturnal
quarters. And the poor flower, frightened by its isolation and its loneliness in the
midst of this indifferent crowd, hung its head mournfully and shed a bitter dewdrop
for a tear. But lo, a little star was kindled in the sombre sky. Its brilliant rays, quick
and tender, pierced the waves of gloom. Suddenly the orphaned flower felt vivified
and refreshed as by some beneficent dew. Fully restored, she lifted her face and saw
the friendly star. She received its rays into her breast, quivering with love and
gratitude. They had brought about her rebirth into a new life.
Dawn with its rosy smile gradually dispelled the darkness, and the star was
submerged in an ocean of light which streamed forth from the star of day. Thousands
of flowers hailed it their paramour, bathing greedily in his golden rays. These he shed
also on the little flower; the great star deigned to cover her too with its flaming kisses.
But full of the memory of the evening star, and of its silvery twinkling, the flower
responded but coldly to the demonstrations of the haughty sun. She still saw before
her mind’s eye the soft and affectionate glow of the star; she still felt in her heart the
beneficent dewdrop, and turning away from the blinding rays of the sun, she closed
her petals and went to sleep nestled in the thick foliage of the parent-shrub. From that
time on, day became night for the lowly flower, and night became day. As soon as the
sun rises and engulfs heaven and earth in its golden rays, the flower becomes
invisible; but hardly does the sun set, and the star, piercing a corner of the dark
horizon, makes its appearance, than the flower hails it with joy, plays with its silvery
rays, and absorbs with long breaths its mellow glow.
Page 9
Such is the heart of many a woman. The first gracious word, the first
affectionate caress, falling on her aching heart, takes root there deeply. Profoundly
moved by a friendly word, she remains indifferent to the passionate demonstrations
of the whole universe. The first may not differ from many others; it may be lost
among thousands of other stars similar to that one, yet the heart of woman knows
where to find him, near by or far away; she will follow with love and interest his
humble course, and will send her blessings on his journey. She may greet the haughty
sun, and admire its glory, but, loyal and grateful, her love will always belong to one
lone star.
[Page 9 has two heads in pencil, one en profile, the other en face, and some
numbers and scrawls. Page 10 is blank. Pages 11-14 have faded photographs stuck on
them: first a lady with some likeness to H.P.B., possibly her sister Vera Petrovna; then
the portraits of H.P.B.’s maternal grandfather and grandmother, Andrey Mihailovich
and Helena Pavlovna de Fadeyev, the latter with the date Tiflis, 1855; the last one is
of an unidentified younger lady. Page 15 has a hasty pen-and-ink outline of a man;
page 16, childish scrawls; page 17, the Greek alphabet with the names of the letters
written in Russian script; pages 18 and 19 are occupied with a woman’s head in ink
and two studies of seemingly Napoleon’s head; page 20 is blank; page 21 has some
decorative letters; page 22 is blank also; on top of page 23 a Russian sentence written
in pencil says: “Thy old copy-book. 1862.” It is in the handwriting of H.P.B.’s aunt
Page 24—reproduced herewith in facsimile—is occupied with pen drawings of
Marguerite praying before a crucifix, with hands folded on her breast, and
Mephistopheles whispering seductions in her ear, with a caption in pencil:
Teresina Signora Mitrovich. (Faust)
Tiflis 7 Avril, 1862.
The name is that of a Russian singer’s wife, herself a singer also. Her husband,
Agardi Mitrovich or Metrovich, acquired a notorious fame in H.P.B.’s life through
people’s slanderous gossip. H.P.B. once saved his life in 1850.
Page 10
Writing to H.P.B. from Odessa, on November 23 (old style), 1884, Madame
Nadyezhda A. de Fadeyev, her aunt. says:
“. . . . I can tell him [Col. Olcott] that Mr. Agardi Mitrovich, whom all of us have
known so well in Tiflis and at Odessa, and who was a friend to us all, could never
have been either your husband or your lover, because he adored his wife who died
two years before his own death, poor man, at Cairo; that she is buried in the cemetery
of Tiflis, and that your mutual friendship dates from the year when he married his
wife. Finally, everybody knows that it is we ourselves who had asked him to go and
find you at Cairo, in order to accompany you to Odessa (in the year 1871), and that
he died without bringing you back, after which you came back alone . . . .”
Page 11
These sentences and a few others on other subjects were written in French, with
the intention that Col. Olcott could read them and understand their contents.*
Madame de Fadeyev’s letter quoted above is in the Adyar Archives, together with a
large number of other letters from her pen.
Various facts about Mitrovich may be gathered by consulting The Letters of H.
P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett (pp. 143-44, 147, 148, 189-91). On page 144 of this
work, H.P.B. states that she met him “in Tiflis in 1861, again with his wife, who died
after I had left in 1865 I believe.” This date is of course relevant to the one we find in
our Sketchbook.
Page 25 contains six strophes, of eight lines each, of a burlesque and somewhat
vulgar song in French about the eleven sons of Jacob. Page 26 and last contains only
meaningless scrawls.
From the above description of the contents of this Sketchbook, it is evident that
it belongs to a very early period in H.P.B.’s life, many years prior to the beginning of
her literary career.]
[We have seen from the Chronological Survey of H.P.B.’s early life how little
information is available about her moves and whereabouts immediately after leaving
the Caucasus in 1865. There is, however, in the Adyar Archives a document which
throws some light upon this period of H.P.B.’s endless wanderings. It is a special
Notebook only two-and-a-half by four inches in size, in which she made rather
copious notes in black pencil about her impressions while travelling in Eastern
Europe. She wrote in French, inserting here and there a few names in Russian. Some
parts of the text are faded, a few words are illegible, and the punctuation is somewhat
uncertain, but on the whole these notes have been rather well-preserved and are of
special interest.
* The original French text of the above quoted passage is as follows:
«. . . . Je puis lui dire que Mr. Agardi Mitrovich que nous avons si bien connu tous à Tiflis et à
Odessa, et qui était l’ami à nous tous, n’a jamais pu être ni ton mari, ni ton amant, car il adorait sa
femme morte deux ans avant sa mort à lui, pauvre homme, au Caire; qu’elle est enterrée à Tiflis, au
cimetière, et que Votre amitié mutuelle date de l’année où il a épousé sa femme. Enfin tout le
monde sait que c’est nous qui l’avons prié d’aller te chercher au Caire pour t’accompagner à Odessa
(l’année 1871) et qu’il est mort sans te ramener, après quoi tu t’es retournée seule . . . »
Page 12
In the pocket attached to the back cover of this Notebook there is a Roman
Catholic Church Calendar of the year 1851, printed in French. and a small piece of
paper bearing the following name written by H.P.B. in Russian:
Alexa Berbitz from Belgrade, Serbia.
Pasted on the inner side of the front cover is a red seal made of paper. In the
center of it we see the Coat of Arms of Hungary. The inscription around it is in
Hungarian: Cs. K. Kizárólagos szabadalmazott fogpapir, Fáczányi Ármin
gyógyszerésztöl Pesten (Imperial and Royal Exclusive Patent Paper Seal. From
Armin Fáczányi, Chemist, Budapest).
From the presence of an 1851 Calendar, one could easily infer that these notes
belong to the early fifties of last century; but it appears from the context itself that
they must have been made during the year 1867, as will be shown in the transcript
published below.]
[The superior numbers in the following pages refer to Compiler’s Notes
appended at the end of the English translation of H. P. B’s text.]
Kronstadt. Brassó—Transylvania. Hôtel Grüner Baum. Comfortable et bon
marché. M. et Mme. Burcheg—professeur de Gymnase. Jeune suisse un peu pédant.
Elle joua de la flûte et [est] hongroise. La vieille Mme. Kántor aveugle.—Kronstadt
est une des plus jolies petites villes d l’Europe par sa position, sa propreté, et de son
élégance. Mais tout près, l’Eau de Borszék y est fameuse.—Venant de Bucarest les
Zlapari vous demandent vos passeports et vous font payer le droit de ne pas examiner
vos malles en les bouleversant de leurs mains sales. Population fort mixte des
valaques, hongrois et souabes. L’architecture des maisons de villes est entièrement
changée. Chaque maison porte la date de la construction sur le toit.1
Hermannstadt (Szeben)
Hôtel de Römischer Kaiser. Voleur hongrois. H. Couronne de Hongrie allemand
et plus voleur encore. La ville bien moins jolie que Kronstadt est inondée d’officiers
autrichiens—Polonais pour la plupart. Régiment Hartmann. Tütch Kapelmeister—
Czech. Le soldat violoniste virtuose français. Discussion eternelle sur Mouravieff et
Haynau.2 Le conseiller Traposta co-Carbonari ayant déjà reçu un coup de poigne
d’une main inconnue. Sa femme compositeur de musique László Anna. Le
commissaire de police polonais partant pour épouser à Bucarest le monstre des foires
Page 13
Blagueur, menteur et voleur comme polonais et employé autrichien. Église
Luthérienne toute sculptée. Beauté unique. Statue St. Nepomucène. 8 h. de Krons.
Karlsburg. Fehérvár (Alba Julia). Ancien camp Romain. Restes et ruines, pour le
moment ville juive et forteresse autrichienne. Hôtel de Ung. Krone, Adolf Benedict,
juif hongrois. Prétendant être le premier bariton du monde. Bon marché. Le maudit
Kántor! La société Neeman. Le juif Lion Emmanuel Mendl. Violon de dentiste
Peterka. 8 h. de diligence.
Klausenburg—(Kolozsvár). Nous gelons en route. Grande ville assez belle.
Vieille cathédrale de 700 ans. Beau théâtre. Hôtel Biasini. Cher et mal. Directeur
Fehérváry. Szephédy. (Mlle Schönberg) juive de Temesvár. Mme. Nagy Hubert,
Fekete. Philipovich M. Le bariton sifflé Heksh.
La baron Bánffy et le Comte Esterházy—grande fureur du pianiste Litolff—le
dernier jour de la Terreur de Robespierre.3 Orchestre. La Comtesse Mikes. Le
gouverneur général français le Comte Crenneville. Fêtes de la Constitution.4 Canons
autrichiens bloqués sur la place. 10 h. de diligence de Karlsburg.
Grosswardein (Nagyvárad). Énorme ville juive. Beaucoup d’hôtels, beaucoup
d’églises. Chemin de fer. 24 h. de diligence de Kolozsvár.
Debreczen. 6 heures de chemin de fer de G. Ward. Jolie ville. Le plus beau
théâtre de Hongrie, plus beau qu’à Pesth. Le coeur de la Hongrie. Tous Hongrois, peu
d’allemands. Bal des ouvriers maçons. Bal de Tzigan.
Arad. 6 h. de Debreczen par chemin de fer à Szolnok. On y couche. De Szolnok
autres 6 h. ch. de fer à Arad. Très grande ville. Tous Hongrois. Beaucoup
d’aristocratie. Le pont près de la forteresse, où l’on a fusillé et pendu en 1849 13
généraux Hongrois. Fêtes de la Constitution. Drapeaux tricolores partout. Les
autrichiens s’y cachaient. Petit théâtre infect. M. et Mme. Folinus. Le maestro Caldy.
M. et Mme.
Page 14
Marzel. Szép Heléna.5 Dalfy, Dalnoly et Mlle Visconti. Mme. Lukács. Braves
Temesvár. 8 h. diligence. Charmante ville mais allemande et triste. Hôtels
magnifiques. La ville forteresse est entourée des 4 côtés par 4 faubourgs
communicant à la forteresse par le parc. Le parc Coronini est le plus beau. Énorme
distance si l’on compte les faubourgs. M. et Mme. Reiman. Mme. Kirchberger prima
donna admirable Lucretia. Bariton Malechevsky. Rossi ténor. Opéra allemand. Murad
effendi.—Beaucoup de Serbes.
Belgrade. 6 h. ch. fer jusqu’à Bazias, de là bateau par Danube jusqu’à Belgrade 7
heures. Rencontre avec Mr. Vizkelety. Horrible ville sale, turque, laide, mal pavée
mais pleine de ducats. Mme. Anka Obrenovich, le Comte Campo. Shishkin, Consul
russe. Ignaccio, Consul d’Italie, Société philharmonique. — M. Feodorovich,
Voulatch. Milovouk des Stojan, Svetozar Vadim Radevoy en masse. Les turcs étaient
entrain de vider la forteresse. Rezi Pacha s’en allait par ordre de Sultan et les serbes
fêtaient leur libertê. Obrenovich Michael partait pour Constantinople remercier le
Sultan.6 101 coups de canon tirés. Chanson Serbe dédiée au Prince. L’infâme
Joanovich intendant au Prince. Le métropolite de 28 ans, élevé à Moscou. Hôtel
infecte et sale. Bateaux à vapeur allant 2 fois par jour à Semlin qui est vis-à-vis.
Pancsova, Autriche. 3 h. de bateau par Danube. Jolie ville propre, population
mixte serbes et allemands. Beaucoup d’hôtels et beaux magasins.
Semlin. 3 h. bateau de Pancsova, un trou allemand et serbe. 4 jours à s’embêter à
l’hôtel de Venise—attendant le bateau pour Neusatz. Jolie vue sur Belgrade de l’autre
côté du Danube. Beaucoup de capitaines de marine, officiers autrichiens faisant
l’amour sous les fenêtres — à chaque maison.
Neusatz, Novosad. Ville tout à fait serbe, peu d’hongrois (7 heures de Semlin
Danube). Hôtel Grüner Kranz infecte et voleur.
Page 15
Hôtel Elisabeth très beau. Popovich rédacteur de journal. Sa femme actrice serbe,
beauté splendide. Lue parlant russe et français. Mr. Vizkelety et sa femme 2 filles,
Irma et— Braves hongrois. Café de Teremeich Demovladeko. Sa fille Maria. Les
frères pravoslavny. Joanovich, Stojanovich et autres. Mr. Isau ex-précepteur des
enfants du G. D. Michel (Mr. Vermily).
Betchkerek. 2 h. de bateau jusqu’à Titel, petit endroit infect sur Theiss et à 2h.
du Danube, de là 3 heures par diligence jusqu’à Betchkerek. La ville est sale et laide.
Beaucoup de serbes et d’hongrois surtout des juifs. Les derniers veulent les droits
égaux aux chrétiens. Députation juive envoyée au ministre hongrois de Pesth. Refus
du Cte. Andrássy. Théâtre national serbe, le Tchizmar.
Eszek (Slavonie) de Betchkerek à Titel (Wagen). Bateau à vapeur pour Neusatz,
jour et coucher la nuit au bateau jusqu’à l’embouchure de Drava. On change de
bateau et on va par Drava 3 h. jusqu’à Eszek, composée de 3 villes qui entourent la
fortresse qui est énorme. Oberstadt, Neustadt et Unterstadt. Population serbes presque
tous, catholiques allemands et hongrois. De 500 à 1000 prisonniers tant politiques
que pour autres crimes. Ville très jolie mais fort ennuyeuse. On voit la journée entière
des détachements de prisonniers dont les jambes sont enchaînées et suivis de soldats
avec leurs fusils—passer par les rues. Il n’y a qu’un mois que les prisonniers
politiques italiens 800 en tout furent libérés par réclamation du Gouvt. Italien. Le
théâtre dans l’Oberstadt est un vrai bijou, mais tous les directeurs se ruinent car ici la
majorité du public sont des officiers qui ne payent que 20 Kr. l’entrée comme
partout.7 Il y a quelques années quand il y eut famine en Serbie et Slavonie que les
Auts. proposèrent au peuple pravoslavny, de travailler aux grandes routes, moyennant
1 fl. par jour toute l’année—mais à condition—de prendre la religion catholique—
autrement on les laissait mourir de faim.
Page 16
Dans la forteresse le meilleur hôtel est Weisen Wolf, bon marché. Ici comme
dans d’autres villes de la Serbie, Slavonie et Autriche, tous les passants, hommes,
femmes, aristocrates ou plèbes vous saluent dans la rue sans vous, connaître et les
enfants à la vue des personnes de bas étage ajoutent même infailliblement Küss die
Hand!—Ce qui m’a fort étonné. O, [nous] subirons toute la journée.
Verchetz, grande ville fort sale—population serbe toute. Grand commerce de
vin. Obradovich Kosta—tous Russophiles. 2 h. p. équipage la route Weisskirchen.
Petite ville charmante toute enterrée dans les vignes. 1 quart d’heure chemin de fer de
Verchetz et à 1 quart d’heure de Bu . . . . . serbes et allemands detestant les uns les
autres. Hôtel de Soleil bon marché et bon. Breton, Bouletich le bâfrent. Environs
Horowitz. Demi village, demi ville, fabriques et ouvriers. La ville est enfouie
dans les montagnes (bas Banat) mines d’or mais le gouvernement ayant acheté aux
hongrois le terrain n’a plus le moyen d’avoir des ouvriers et on ne trouve que 4-5. . . .
. . d’or par semaine. Ressemble à Borzhom.8 Sign. Scoffa. Mr. Veuv, Bach.
Population valaque et allemande. 6 h. de voiture de Weisskirchen.
Rechitza, grande et belle ville à 5 ou 6 énormes fabriques contenant 5 mille
ouvriers presque tous prussiens et anglais. Énormes mines de fer. Compagnie
française du Crédit Mobilier. Le plus beau pays du monde, une Suisse . . . . . . Mme.
Borz virtuose de piano. Ses soeurs. La famille Mack. 8 h. de voiture de Horowitz.
Limite du haut Banat, la plus pittoresque route de l’univers. 14 h. de voiture de
Temesvár — X.
Kikinda. 2 h. de chemin de fer de Temesvár, grande bourgade. Mme. Stoikovich
et ses neuf filles. Mr. Stefanovich, le colonel Anneti-Monti.
Hazfeld. 1 heure de Kik. chemin de fer.
Mehadia. Bains minéraux, seule et unique rue toute composée d’hôtels
splendides et énormes, Hercules Bad, Röber Hôtel. La caverne des brigands dont le
souterrain va de Mehadia jusqu’à Orsova. Fameuse légende de Ludwig le chef des
brigands qui a donné son nom aux bains. Environs splendides.
Page 17
Körös-Maros Sebes. Ville de frontière, petite, sale et ennuyeuse.
Lugos, jolie ville hongroise.
[The following four items, written in Russian, are very likely the amounts paid
by H.P.B. for her tickets.]
From Vienna to Graz—8-25
From Vienna to Trieste—21-35
From T. to Venice—5-27
From Graz to Laibach—7-20
[On the remaining pages of the Notebook we find H.P.B.’s notes of various
travelling expenses, most likely both transportation and food; these are written in
Russian. She also lists certain monies received by her, but does not indicate their
source. On one of the middle pages of the Notebook we find a sketch made by H.P.B.
showing the geographical position on the map of some of the places she visited
during this journey.]
[Translation of the foregoing French text.]
Kronstadt. Brassó — Transylvania. Hotel Grüner Baum. Comfortable and cheap.
Mr. and Mad. Burcheg—teacher in the Gymnasium. Young Swiss, a bit pedantic. She
is Hungarian and plays the flute. Old, blind Mad. Kántor. Kronstadt is one of the
nicest small towns in Europe owing to its location, cleanliness and elegance. Quite
near to it are the famous mineral waters of Borszék.—Coming from Bucharest, the
Zlaparis ask for your passport, and make you pay for not examining your trunks by
turning them inside out with their dirty hands. Very mixed population of Wallachians,
Hungarians and Swabians. The architecture of the houses is entirely different. Each
house has the date of its construction on the roof.1
Hermannstadt (Szeben)
Hotel Römischer Kaiser. A Hungarian thief. Hotel of the Hungarian Crown,
German and a still greater thief.
Page 18
The town is far from being as nice as Kronstadt, and is flooded with Austrian
officers, mainly Poles. Regiment Hartmann. The Conductor of the band is Tütch, a
Czech. The soldier violinist is a French virtuoso. Eternal discussion about Muraviov
and Haynau.2 Councilman Traposta, co-Carbonari, has already been stabbed by an
unknown hand. His wife László Anna, is a composer of music. The Chief of Police, a
Pole, was about to leave for Bucharest, to marry the monster of the fairs, Flora. Being
a Pole and an Austrian employee, he is a humbug, a liar, and a thief. Lutheran church,
all full of sculptures. Unique beauty. Statue of St. Nepomuk. 8 hours from Kronstadt.
Karlsburg. Fehérvár (Alba Julia). Ancient Roman camp. Remains and ruins. At
present a Jewish town and an Austrian Fort. Hotel Ung. Krone. Adolf Benedict,
Hungarian Jew, pretending to be the foremost baritone of the world. Cheap. Damned
Kántor! The Neeman Society. The Jew Lion Emmanuel Mendl. Violin of the dentist
Peterka. 8 hours by coach.
Klausenburg—(Kolozsvár). We are freezing on our way. A large and rather
beautiful town. A 700 years old Cathedral. Nice theatre. Hotel Biasini. Expensive and
bad. Director Fehérváry. Szephédy. (Miss Schönberg), a Jewess from Temesvár.
Mme. Nagy Hubert, Fekete. Philipovich M. Heksh, the hissed baritone.
The Baron Bánffy and the Count Esterházy — Great success of the pianist
Litolff—the last day of the Terreur of Robespierre.3 Orchestra. The Countess Mikes.
The French Governor-General Count Crenneville. Festival of the Constitution.4
Austrian cannons jammed on the square. 10 hours by coach from Karlsburg.
Grosswardein (Nagyvárad). Large Jewish town. Many hotels and churches.
Railway. 24 hours by coach from Kolozsvár.
Debreczen. 6 hours by train from G. Ward. Nice town. The most beautiful theatre
in Hungary, more beautiful than in Pesth. The heart of Hungary. All Hungarians, few
Page 19
Ball of the Masons. Ball of the Tzigans.
Arad. 6 hours by train from Debreczen to Szolnok. Spent the night there. From
there another 6 hours by train to Arad. A very large town. Entirely Hungarian. Many
aristocrats. The bridge near the fortress where 13 Hungarian Generals were shot and
hanged in 1849. Festival of the Constitution. Tricoloured [Hungarian] flags
everywhere. The Austrians hide themselves. A small and unpleasant theatre. Mr. and
Mad. Folinus. The maestro Cáldy. Mr. and Mme. Marzel. Szép Helena.5 Dalfy,
Dalnoly and Mlle. Visconti. Mme. Lukács. Decent people.
Temesvár. 8 hours by coach. A charming place, but German and doleful.
Magnificent hotels. The Fort is surrounded on all four sides by four suburbs
communicating with the Fort through the park. The Coronini park is the most
beautiful. Enormous distances if one reckons the suburbs. Mr. and Mme. Reiman.
Mme. Kirchberger, prima donna and admirable Lucretia. Baritone Malechevsky.
Tenor Rossi. German Opera. Murad effendi. Many Serbians.
Belgrade. 6 hours by train to Bazias; thence 7 hours by steamer on the Danube
to Belgrade. Meeting with Mr. Vizkelety. Horrible, dirty city, Turkish, ugly, badly
paved but full of ducats. Mme. Anka Obrenoviæ, the Count Campo. Shishkin, the
Russian Consul. Ignaccio, the Italian Consul. Philharmonic Society—M.
Feodorovich, Voulatch. Milovouk of the Stoyans, Svetozar Vadim Radevoy en masse.
The Turks were busy evacuating the fortress. Rezi Pasha was about to leave by order
of the Sultan, and the Serbs celebrated their freedom. Michael Obrenoviæ was going
to Constantinople to thank the Sultan.6 Cannons were fired 101 times. Serbian song
dedicated to the Prince. Joanovich, the wretched superintendent of the Prince. The
twenty-eight years old Metropolitan, educated in Moscow. Dirty and disgusting hotel.
Steamers twice a day to Semlin on the opposite side.
Pancsova, Austria. 3 hours by steamer on the Danube.
Page 20
Nice, clean town, mixed population of Serbs and Germans. Many hotels and
beautiful stores.
Semlin, 3 hours by steamer from Pancsova, a German and Serbian hole. Four
days of boredom in the Hotel Venice, awaiting the steamer for Neusatz. Nice view of
Belgrade on the opposite bank of the Danube. Many Captains of the Navy. Austrian
officers flirting at the windows—in every house.
Neusatz, Novosad. Altogether Serbian town, few Hungarians (7 hours from
Semlin along the Danube). Hotel Grüner Kranz, disgusting and thievish. Very nice
Hotel Elizabeth. Popovich, newspaper editor. His wife—a Serbian actress of
outstanding beauty. He speaks Russian and French. Mr. Vizkelety, his wife and two
daughters, Irma and—decent Hungarians. Coffee Shop of Teremeich Domovladeko.
His daughter Maria. The brothers are Orthodox. Joanovich, Stoyanovich and others.
Mr. Isau, ex-tutor of the children of Grand Duke Michael (Mr. Vermily).
Becskerek. 2 hours by steamer to Titel, a dirty little place on the Theiss and 2
hours from the Danube. From there 3 hours by coach to Becskerek. The town is dirty
and unsightly. Many Serbs and Hungarians, mainly Jews. The latter want the same
rights as the Christians. Jewish delegation sent to the Hungarian Minister at Pesth.
Count Andrássy refused. National Serbian theatre—the Tchizmar.
Eszék (Slavonia). From Becskerek to Titel (coach). Steamer to Neusatz, day and
night on the steamer down to the mouth of the river Drava. Change of steamer and 3
hours upstream on the Drava to Eszék, consisting of three parts surrounding the Fort
which is enormous. Oberstadt, Neustadt and Unterstadt. Almost entirely Serbian
population. The Austrians and Hungarians are Catholics. Between 500 and 1,000
prisoners, both political and for other crimes. A very beautiful town, but very boring.
One sees the whole day long groups of prisoners in chains marching along the streets,
escorted by soldiers armed with rifles. Just a month ago 800 Italian political prisoners
were released on demand from the Italian Government.
Page 21
The theatre in Oberstadt is a real gem, but the managers are ruined because the
majority of the public here are officers who pay only 20 Kr. for admission, as
everywhere else.7 Some years ago, when there was a famine in Serbia and Slavonia,
the Austrians offered to the Orthodox people work, building roads, at the rate of 1
florin per day throughout the year, but on condition of embracing the Catholic faith;
otherwise they would be left to starve. In the Fort the best hotel is Weisen Wolf,
cheap. Here as in other cities Serbia, Slavonia and Austria, all the passers-by in the
streets, men, women, aristocrats and commoners alike, greet you without knowing
you; and the children add unfailingly: Küss die Hand—which was a great surprise to
me. Well, we’ll submit to it all day long.
Verchetz, a very dirty large town, population entirely Serbian. Great trade in
wine. Obradovich Kosta—all Russophiles. 2 hours by coach to Weisskirchen. A
charming little town surrounded by vineyards. A quarter of an hour from Verchetz by
train and the same from Bu . . . . . Serbians and Austrians detesting each other. Hôtel
de Soleil, cheap and good. Breton, Bouletich and gluttony. Magnificent surroundings.
Horowitz. Half village, half town. Factories and working people. The place is
buried in the mountains (Lower Banat); gold mines. The Government, however,
having bought the ground from the Hungarians, is unable to get labourers, and one
finds but 4 or 5 . . . . . . of gold per week. It resembles Borzhom.8 Sigr. Scoffa. Mr.
Veuv. Bach. Wallachian and German population. 6 hours by coach from
Rechitza. Large and beautiful city with 5 or 6 factories employing five thousand
workers, nearly all Prussians and English. Enormous iron ore mines. The French
Company of Crédit Mobilier. The most beautiful country in the world, another
Switzerland . . . . . . Mme. Borz, piano virtuoso. Her sisters. The Mack family. 8 hours
by coach from Horowitz.
Page 22
Boundary of the High Banat, the most picturesque route in the universe. 14 hours by
coach from Temesvár.
Temesvár — X.
Kikinda. Two hours by train from Temesvár; large village. Mme. Stoykovich
and her nine daughters. Mr. Stefanovich, Colonel Anneti-Monti.
Hatzfeld. One hour by train from Kikinda.
Mehadia. Mineral baths. Only one street consisting of enormous and splendid
hotels. Hercules Bad. Röber Hotel. The cave of the brigands with a tunnel reaching
from Mehadia to Orsova. Famous legend about Ludwig, the chief of the brigands,
who has given his name to the Spa. Splendid surroundings.
Körös-Maros Sebes. Frontier town, small, dirty and boring.
Lugos, nice Hungarian town.
[The following four items, written in Russian, are very likely the amounts paid
by H.P.B. for her tickets:]
From Vienna to Gratz—8-25
From Vienna to Trieste—21-35
From T. to Venice—5-27
From Gratz to Laibach—7-20
[The following Notes may be of interest in connection with H.P.B.’s Travel-
1 These dates are laid out in tiles of a different color.
2 Julius Jacob Haynau (1786-1853), Austrian General, the natural son of the
landgrave—afterwards elector—of Hesse-Cassel, William IX. Of violent temper and
fanatical hatred of revolutionary movements, he was the most cruel oppressor of the
Hungarians after the National Uprising against Austria in 1848-49.
3 Henri (Charles) Litolff, French pianist and composer, born in London Feb. 6,
1818; died at Bois-le-Combes, near Paris, Aug. 6, 1891.
Page 23
His father was an Alsatian soldier taken prisoner by the English in the Peninsular
War, who had settled in London and had married an English woman. In 1831, Litolff
was brought to Moscheles and taken gratis as pupil, on account of great ability. He
appeared in Covent Garden Theatre, July 24, 1832. Married when seventeen and
settled for a while in France, he led a wandering life for a number of years, marrying
later for a second time. In 1861, he started the “Collection Litolff,” a cheap and
accurate edition of classical music. He married once again, this time Countess de la
Rochefoucault. There are about 115 works attributed to him, among them the Operas
“Die Braut von Kynast” and “Les Templiers.” His overtures “Robespierre” and
“Girondisten” were composed for Wolfgang Robert Griepenkerl’s (1810-1868)
dramas bearing these titles. “Robespierre” dates from sometime between 1849 and
4 The first Hungarian responsible Ministry was formed on February 17, 1867; as
a consequence of this, the Office of the Governor-General in Transylvania ceased to
function. The last Governor-General was Folliol-Crenwille (or Crenneville). This
explains what H.P.B. meant by the “festival of the Constitution.”
5 The operetta Helen of Troy.
6 Prince Michael Obrenoviæ III (1838-68), the youngest son of Prince Milon
Obrenoviæ I, received the keys of the Fortress in Belgrade on April 13, 1867, from Al
Rezi Pasha. Before this actually took place, Prince Michael had been to
Constantinople to thank the Sultan.
The above information has been verified in the Hungarian State Archives, so that
there can be no doubt that H.P.B. was in Belgrade at this specific time. Consult also
Jenö Horváth, History of Diplomacy, Vol. 1, p. 188, in connection with these political
7 One hundred Kreutzers make 1 Florin.
8 Small settlement in the former Tiflis Province of the Caucasus, about 2600 feet
above sea level; it is famous for its hot mineral waters and has been frequented for
many years by tubercular people.]
[Many of the towns and localities visited by H.P.B. in the course of her travels
have changed their names since. In order to help the student in identifying them on
the map, the following Table has been prepared which shows the earlier and the
present day names of the various places:
Page 24
Page 25
[There are also in the Adyar Archives eight small Notebooks, numbered 1 to 8,
in which H.P.B. made various notations, copied quotations from various writings and
references to works she had apparently consulted. Here and there appears some
original material from her own pen, mainly on the subject of occult teachings, such as
the lokas and the states of consciousness. There are also some translated passages
from French and other books. Much of this material belongs to the period when she
was working on Isis Unveiled; some of it refers to The Secret Doctrine; and one of
the Notebooks has reference to The Key to Theosophy. It is obvious, therefore, that
none of this material belongs to her early years, and whatever there is from her own
pen in these Notebooks will be found in later volumes of the present Series.]
Page 29
[Beginning in 1874, and for about ten years, H.P.B. pasted a wide variety of
cuttings from newspapers and magazines into Scrapbooks. There are twenty-four of
them in the Archives of The Theosophical Society at Adyar, India. Every newspaper
reference to the T.S. and its work, and any account thought to be of consequence for
historical purposes, was pasted in these Scrapbooks. This included also cuttings of
H.P.B.’s own articles and letters to Editors which had been published, and some of
Col. Olcott’s contributions to various Journals of the day.
H.P.B. appended pen-and-ink and pencil remarks and comments to various
statements in the text of these articles; many of these comments are humorous and are
enhanced by cartoons, either drawn by herself or pasted in from some other magazine
or paper, frequently with her own additions. Here and there appears some important
statement of her own, not to be found anywhere else in her writings.
In the pages that follow, the reader will find all pertinent comments by H.P.B.
introduced in their approximate chronological sequence, which at times is not easy to
determine; some of H.P.B.’s annotations may have been added later than the time
when any given article was published.—Compiler.]
[The first article definitely known to be from the pen of H.P.B. is the one in the New York Daily
Graphic, entitled “Marvellous Spirit Manifestations,” with which the present Volume opens:]
Page 30
[The Daily Graphic, New York, Vol. V, October 30, 1874, p. 873]
The following letter was addressed to a contemporary journal by Mme.
Blavatsky, and was handed to us for publication in The Daily Graphic, as we have
been taking the lead in the discussion of the curious subject of Spiritualism.
EDITOR, The Daily Graphic.
Aware in the past of your love of justice and fair play, I most earnestly solicit the
use of your columns to reply to an article of Dr. G. M. Beard in relation to the Eddy
family in Vermont. He, in denouncing them and their spiritual manifestations in a
most sweeping declaration, would aim a blow at the entire spiritual world of today.
His letter appeared this morning (October 27th). Dr. George M. Beard has for the last
few weeks assumed the part of the “roaring lion” seeking for a medium “to devour.”
It appears that today the learned gentleman is more hungry than ever. No wonder,
after the failure he has experienced with Mr. Brown, the “mind-reader,” at New
I do not know Dr. Beard personally, nor do I care to know how far he is entitled
to wear the laurels of his profession as an M.D.; but what I do know is that he may
never hope to equal, much less to surpass, such men and savants as Crookes, Wallace,
or even Flammarion, the French astronomer, all of whom have devoted years to the
investigation of Spiritualism. All of them came to the conclusion that, supposing even
the well-known phenomenon of materialization of spirits did not prove the identity of
the persons whom they purported to represent, it was not, at all events, the work of
mortal hands; still less was it a fraud.
Now to the Eddys. Dozens of visitors have remained there for weeks and even
for months; not a single séance has taken place but some of them realized the
personal presence of a friend, a relative, a mother, father, or dear departed child.
Page 31
But lo! here comes Dr. Beard, stops less than two days, applies his powerful electrical
battery, under which the spirit does not even wink or flinch, closely examines the
cabinet (in which he finds nothing), and then turns his back and declares most
emphatically “that he wishes it to be perfectly understood that if his scientific name
ever appears in connection with the Eddy family, it must be only to expose them as
the greatest frauds who cannot do even good trickery.” Consummatum est!
Spiritualism is defunct. Requiescat in pace! Dr. Beard has killed it with one word.
Scatter ashes over your venerable but silly heads, oh Crookes, Wallace and Varley!
Henceforth you must be considered as demented, psychologized, and lunatics, and so
must it be with the many thousands of Spiritualists who have seen and talked with
their friends and relatives departed, recognizing them at Moravia, at the Eddys’, and
elsewhere throughout the length and breadth of this continent. But is there no escape
from the horns of this dilemma? Yea, verily, Dr. Beard writes thus: “When your
correspondent returns to New York I will teach him on any convenient evening to do
all that the Eddys do.” Pray why should a Daily Graphic reporter be the only one
selected by G. M. Beard, M.D., for initiation into the knowledge of so clever a
“trick”? In such a case why not publicly denounce this universal trickery, and so
benefit the whole world? But Dr. Beard seems to be as partial in his selections as he
is clever in detecting said tricks. Didn’t the learned doctor say to Colonel Olcott
while at the Eddys’ that three dollars’ worth of second-hand drapery would be enough
for him to show how to materialize all the spirits that visit the Eddy homestead?
To this I reply, backed as I am by the testimony of hundreds of reliable witnesses
that all the wardrobe of Niblo’s Theatre would not suffice to attire the number of
spirits that emerge night after night from an empty little closet.
Let Dr. Beard rise and explain the following fact if he can: I remained fourteen
days at the Eddys’. In that short period of time I saw and recognized fully out of 119
apparitions seven spirits.
I admit that I was the only one to recognize them, the rest of the audience not
having been with me in my numerous travels throughout the East, but their various
dresses and costumes were plainly seen and closely examined by all.
Page 32
The first was a Georgian boy, dressed in the historical Caucasian attire, the
picture of whom will shortly appear in The Daily Graphic.* I recognized and
questioned him in Georgian upon circumstances known only to myself. I was
understood and answered. Requested by me in his mother tongue (upon the
whispered suggestion of Colonel Olcott) to play the “Lezguinka,” a Circassian dance,
he did so immediately upon the guitar.
Second. A little old man appears. He is dressed as Persian merchants generally
are. His dress is perfect as a national costume. Everything is in its right place, down
to the “babouches” that are off his feet, he stepping out in his stockings. He speaks
his name in a loud whisper. It is “Hassan Aga,” an old man whom I and my family
have known for twenty years at Tiflis. He says, half in Georgian and half in Persian,
that he has got a “big secret to tell me,” and comes at three different times, vainly
seeking to finish his sentence.
Third. A man of gigantic stature emerges forth, dressed in the picturesque attire
of the warriors of Kurdistan. He does not speak, but bows in the Oriental fashion, and
lifts up his spear ornamented with bright-coloured feathers, shaking it in token of
welcome. I recognize him immediately as Saffar Ali Bek, a young chief of a tribe of
Kurds, who used to accompany me in my trips around Ararat in Armenia on
horseback, and who on one occasion saved my life.† More, he bends to the ground as
though picking up a handful of mould and scattering it around, presses his hand to his
bosom—a gesture familiar only to the tribes of the Kurdistan.
* [This boy was Michalko Guegidze, of Kutais, Georgia, who was a servant in the household of
Katherine de Witte. See in connection with this subject Col. H. S. Olcott’s work, People from the
Other World, Hartford, Conn., 1875, pp. 298 et seq.—Compiler.]
† [Safar Ali Bek Ibrahim Bek Ogli, mentioned by Col. Olcott in his People from the Other World, p.
(See page 34 of the present volume for transcription of her pen-and-ink remarks.)
(Consult the Bio-Bibliographical Index for biographical sketch.)
Page 33
Fourth. A Circassian comes out. I can imagine myself at Tiflis, so perfect is his
costume of “nouker” (a man who either runs before or behind one on horseback).
This one speaks. More, he corrects his name, which I pronounced wrongly on
recognizing him, and when I repeat it he bows, smiling, and says in the purest
guttural Tartar, which sounds so familiar to my ear, “Tchoch yachtchi” (all right), and
goes away.
Fifth. An old woman appears with a Russian headgear. She comes out and
addresses me in Russian, calling me by an endearing term that she used in my
childhood. I recognize an old servant of my family, a nurse of my sister.
Sixth. A large powerful negro next appears on the platform. His head is
ornamented with a wonderful coiffure, something like horns wound about with white
and gold. His looks are familiar to me, but I do not at first recollect where I have seen
him. Very soon he begins to make some vivacious gestures, and his mimicry helps me
to recognize him at a glance. It is a conjurer from Central Africa. He grins and
Seventh and last. A large grey-haired gentleman comes out attired in the
conventional suit of black. The Russian decoration of Saint Ann hangs suspended by
a large red moiré ribbon with two black stripes—a ribbon, as every Russian will
know, belonging to said decoration. This ribbon is worn around his neck. I feel faint,
for I think of recognizing my father. But the latter was a great deal taller. In my
excitement I address him in English, and ask him: “Are you my father?” He shakes
his head in the negative, and answers as plainly as any mortal man can speak, and in
Russian, “No; I am your uncle.” The word “diadia” has been heard and remembered
by all the audience. It means “uncle.”
Page 34
But what of that? Dr. Beard knows it to be but a pitiful trick, and we must submit
in silence. People that know me know that I am far from being credulous. Though a
Spiritualist of many years’ standing,* I am more sceptical in receiving evidence from
paid mediums than many unbelievers. But when I receive such evidence as I received
at the Eddys’, I feel bound on my honour, and under the penalty of confessing myself
a moral coward, to defend the mediums as well as the thousands of my brother and
sister Spiritualists, against the conceit and slander of one man who has nothing and
no one to back him in his assertions. I now hereby finally and publicly challenge Dr.
Beard to the amount of $500 to produce before a public audience and under the same
conditions the manifestations herein attested, or, failing this, to bear the ignominious
consequences of his proposed exposé.
124 East Sixteenth Street, October 27.
[In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. I, the above article is pasted on page 5, in three
separate columns, together with the Press Cutting mentioning her arrival at the Eddy
Homestead on Oct. 14, 1874, as may be seen on the accompanying illustration.
H.P.B.’s comment at the top of the page reads:]
The curtain is raised. — H.S.O.’s acquaintance on October 14, 1874, with H.P.B.
at Chittenden. H. S. Olcott is a — Rabid Spiritualist, and H. P. Blavatsky is an
occultist — one who laughs at the supposed agency of Spirits! (but all the same
pretends to be one herself).
[To the date of the article H.P.B. added in pen and ink: 1874; and she also wrote
the following footnote under column 3:]
#They may be the portraits of the dead people then repro . . . . . (they certainly
are not Spirits or Souls) yet a real . . . . . nomenon produced by the Elementaries.
* [When H.P.B. pasted the cutting of this article in her Scrapbook. Vol. I, p. 5, she rubbed out the
words “a Spiritualist,” substituted for them the words “an Occultist,” and underlined in blue the
entire sentence.—Compiler.]
Page 35
[The sign introducing the footnote is missing in the actual article; there are, however,
blue underlinings and quotation marks in connection with the word “spirits,” in the
4th and 5th paragraphs of the text, made by H.P.B., and to which her footnote may
[In A. P. Sinnett’s well-known work, Incidents in the Life of H. P. Blavatsky
(New York: J. W. Bouton, 1886), pp. 131-33, there occurs a rather important
statement, as well as a direct quote of H.P.B.’s own words, bearing upon the séances
at the Eddy Brothers. Mr. Sinnett says that H.P.B.
“. . . . has tried with the most famous mediums to evoke and communicate with
those dearest to her, and whose loss she had deplored, but could never succeed.
‘Communications and messages’ she certainly did receive, and got their signatures,
and on two occasions their materialized forms, but the communications were couched
in a vague and gushing language quite unlike the style she knew so well. Their
signatures, as she has ascertained, were obtained from her own brain; and on no
occasion, when the presence of a relation was announced and the form described by
the medium, who was ignorant of the fact that Mme. Blavatsky could see as well as
any of them, has she recognized the ‘spirit’ of the alleged relative in the host of
spooks and elementaries that surrounded them (when the medium was a genuine one
of course). Quite the reverse. For she often saw, to her disgust, how her own
recollections and brain-images were drawn from her memory and disfigured in the
confused amalgamation that took place between their reflection in the medium’s brain
which instantly sent them out, and the shells which sucked them in like a sponge and
objectivized them—‘a hideous shape with a mask on in my sight,’ she tells us.”
H.P.B. herself goes on to say:]
Even the materialized form of my uncle at the Eddy’s was the picture; it was I
who sent it out from my own mind, as I had come out to make experiments without
telling it to any one. It was like an empty outer envelope of my uncle that I seemed to
throw on the medium’s astral body. I saw and followed the process. I knew Will Eddy
was a genuine medium, and the phenomenon as real as it could be, and, therefore,
when days of trouble came for him, I defended him in the papers. In short, for all the
years of experience in America I never succeeded in identifying, in one single
instance, those I wanted to see.
Page 36
It is only in my dreams and personal visions that I was brought in direct contact
with my own blood relatives and friends, those between whom and myself there had
been a strong mutual spiritual love. . . . . For certain psycho-magnetic reasons, too
long to be explained here, the shells of those spirits who loved us best will not, with a
very few exceptions, approach us. They have no need of it since, unless they were
irretrievably wicked, they have us with them in Devachan, that state of bliss in which
the monads are surrounded with all those, and that, which they have loved—objects
of spiritual aspirations as well as human entities. “Shells” once separated from their
higher principles have nought in common with the latter. They are not drawn to their
relatives and friends, but rather to those with whom their terrestrial, sensuous
affinities are the strongest. Thus the shell of a drunkard will be drawn to one who is
either a drunkard already or has a germ of this passion in him, in which case it will
develop it by using his organs to satisfy the craving; one who died full of sexual
passion for a still living partner will have its shell drawn to him or her, etc. We
Theosophists, and especially occultists, must never lose sight of the profound axiom
of the Esoteric Doctrine which teaches us that it is we, the living, who are drawn
toward the spirits—but that the latter can never, even though they would, descend to
us, or rather into our sphere.
[The Daily Graphic, New York, Vol. VI, November 13, 1874, pp. 90-91]
To the Editor of The Daily Graphic:
As Dr. Beard has scorned (in his scientific grandeur) to answer the challenge
sent to him by your humble servant in the number of The Daily Graphic for the 30th
of October last, and preferred instructing the public in general rather than one
“credulous fool” in particular, let her come from Circassia or Africa, I fully trust you
will permit me to use your paper once more, in order that by pointing out some very
spicy peculiarities of this amazingly scientific exposure, the public might better judge
to whose door the aforesaid elegant epithet could be more appropriately laid.
* [In her Scrapbook, Vol. I, p. 6, where this article is pasted in, H.P.B. wrote across the top of the
My 2nd letter to N. Y. Graphic, November 14, 1874. —Compiler.]
Page 37
For a week or so an immense excitement, a thrill of sacrilegious fear, if I am
allowed this expression, ran through the psychologized frames of the Spiritualists of
New York. It was rumored in ominous whispers that G. Beard, M.D., the Tyndall of
America, was coming out with his peremptory exposure of the Eddys’ ghosts, and—
the Spiritualists trembled for their gods!
The dreaded day has come; the number of The Daily Graphic for November the
9th is before us. We have read it carefully, with respectful awe—for true science has
always been an authority for us (weak-minded fool though we may be), and so we
handled the dangerous exposure with a feeling somewhat akin to the one of a fanatic
Christian opening a volume of “Büchner.” We perused it to the last; we turned the
page over and over again, vainly straining our eyes and brain to detect therein one
word of scientific proof or a solitary atom of overwhelming evidence that would
thrust into our spiritualistic bosom the venomous fangs of doubt. But no; not a
particle of reasonable explanation or a scientific evidence that what we have all seen,
heard, and felt at the Eddys’ was but delusion. In our feminine modesty, still allowing
the said article the benefit of the doubt, we disbelieved our own senses, and so
devoted a whole day to the picking up of sundry bits of criticism from judges that we
believed more competent than ourselves, and at last came collectively to the
following conclusion:
The Daily Graphic has allowed Dr. Beard in its magnanimity nine columns of its
precious pages to prove—what? Why, the following: First, that he, Dr. Beard,
according to his own modest assertions (see columns second and third), is more
entitled to occupy the position of an actor entrusted with characters of simpletons
(Molière’s Tartuffe might fit him perhaps as naturally) than to undertake the difficult
part of a Prof. Faraday vis-à-vis the Chittenden D. D. Home.
Page 38
Secondly, that notwithstanding the learned doctor was “overwhelmed already
with professional labours” (a nice and cheap réclame, by the way) and scientific
researches, he gave the latter another direction, and so went to the Eddys’. That
arrived there he played with Horatio Eddy, for the glory of science and the benefit of
humanity, the difficult character of a “dishevelled simpleton,” and was rewarded in
his scientific research by finding on the said suspicious premises a professor of
bumps, “a poor harmless fool”! Galileo, of famous memory, when he detected the sun
in its involuntary imposture, chuckled certainly less over his triumph than does Dr.
Beard over the discovery of this “poor fool” No. 1. Here we modestly suggest that
perhaps the learned doctor had no business to go so far as Chittenden for that.
Further, the doctor, forgetting entirely the wise motto “non bis in idem,”
discovers and asserts throughout the length of his article that all the past, present, and
future generations of pilgrims to the “Eddy homestead” are collectively fools, and
that every solitary member of this numerous body of Spiritualistic pilgrims is
likewise “a weak-minded, credulous fool”! Query—The proof of it, if you please, Dr.
Beard? Answer—Dr. Beard has said so, and Echo responds, Fool!
Truly miraculous are thy doings indeed, O Mother Nature! The cow is black and
its milk is white! But then, you see, those ill-bred, ignorant Eddy brothers have
allowed their credulous guests to eat up all the “trout” caught by Dr. Beard and paid
by him seventy-five cents per pound as a penalty; and that fact alone might have
turned him a little—how shall we say, sour, prejudiced? No; erroneous in his
statement will answer better.
For erroneous he is, not to say more. When, assuming an air of scientific
authority, he affirms that the séance-room is generally so dark that one cannot
recognize at three feet distance his own mother, he says what is not true.
Page 39
When he tells us further that he saw through a hole in one of the shawls and the space
between them all the manoeuvres of Horatio’s arm, he risks to find himself belied by
thousands who, weak-minded though they may be, are not blind for all that, neither
are they confederates of the Eddys, but far more reliable witnesses in their simpleminded
honesty than Dr. Beard is in his would-be scientific and unscrupulous
testimony. The same when he says that no one is allowed to approach the spirits
nearer than twelve feet distance, still less to touch them, except the “two simpleminded,
ignorant idiots” who generally sit on both ends of the platform. To my
knowledge many other persons have sat there besides those two.
Dr. Beard ought to know this better than anyone else, as he has sat there himself.
A sad story is in circulation, by the way, at the Eddys’. The records of the spiritual
séances at Chittenden have devoted a whole page to the account of a terrible danger
that has threatened for a moment to deprive America of one of her brightest scientific
stars. Dr. Beard, admitting a portion of the story himself, perverts the rest of it, as he
does everything else in his article. The doctor admits that he has been badly struck by
the guitar, and, not being able to bear the pain, “jumped up” and broke the circle.
Now it clearly appears that the learned gentleman has neglected to add to the
immense stock of his knowledge the first rudiments of “logic.” He boasts himself of
having completely blinded Horatio and others as to the real object of his visit. What
should then Horatio pummel his head for? The spirits were never known before to be
as rude as that. But then Dr. B. does not believe in their existence and so puts the
whole thing to Horatio’s door. He forgets to state, though, that a whole shower of
missiles were thrown at his head, and that, “pale as a ghost”—so says the tale-telling
record—the poor scientist surpassed for a moment the “fleet-footed Achilles” himself
in the celerity with which he took to his heels.
Page 40
How strange if Horatio, not suspecting him still, left him standing at two feet distance
from the shawl? How very logical?
It becomes evident that the said neglected logic was keeping company at the
time with old mother Truth at the bottom of her well, not being wanted, none of them,
by Dr. Beard. I myself have sat upon the upper step of the platform for fourteen
nights by the side of Mrs. Cleveland. I got up every time “Honto” approached me to
an inch of my face in order to see her the better. I have touched her hands repeatedly
as other spirits have been touched, and even embraced her nearly every night.
Therefore, when I read Dr. Beard’s preposterous and cool assertion that “a very low
order of genius is required to obtain command of a few words in different languages
and so to mutter them to credulous Spiritualists,” I feel every right in the world to say
in my turn that such a scientific exposure as Dr. Beard has come out with in his
article does not require any genius at all; per contra, it requires the most ridiculous
faith on the part of the writer in his own infallibility, as well as a positive confidence
in finding in all his readers what he elegantly terms “weak-minded fools.” Every
word of his statement, when it is not a most evident untruth, is a wicked and
malicious insinuation, built on the very equivocal authority of one witness against the
evidence of thousands.
Says Dr. Beard, “I have proved that the life of the Eddys is one long lie; the
details need no further discussion.” The writer of the above lines forgets, by saying
these imprudent words, that some people might think that “like attracts the like.” He
went to Chittenden with deceit in his heart and falsehood on his lips, and so, judging
his neighbour by the character he assumed himself, he takes everyone for a knave
when he does not put him down as a fool. Declaring so positively that he has proved
it, the doctor forgets one trifling circumstance, namely, that he has proved nothing
Where are his boasted proofs?
Page 41
When we contradict him by saying that the séance-room is far from being as dark as
he pretends it to be, and that the spirits have repeatedly called out themselves through
Mrs. Eaton’s voice for more light, we only say what we can prove before any jury.
When Dr. Beard says that all the spirits are personated by W. Eddy, he advances what
would prove to be a greater conundrum for solution than the apparition of spirits
themselves. There he falls right away into the domain of Cagliostro: for if Dr. B. has
seen five or six spirits in all, other persons, myself included, have seen one hundred
and nineteen in less than a fortnight, nearly all of whom were differently dressed.
Besides, the accusation of Dr. Beard implies the idea to the public that the artist of
The Daily Graphic who made the sketches of so many of those apparitions, and who
is not a “credulous Spiritualist” himself, is likewise a humbug, propagating to the
world what he did not see, and so thrusting at large the most preposterous. and
outrageous lie.
When the learned doctor will have explained to us how any man in his shirtsleeves
and a pair of tight pants for an attire can possibly conceal on his person (the
cabinet having been previously found empty) a whole bundle of clothes, women’s
robes, hats, caps, headgears, and entire suits of evening dress, white waistcoats and
neckties included, then he will be entitled to more belief than he is at present. That
would be a proof indeed, for, with all due respect to his scientific mind, Dr. Beard is
not the first Oedipus that had thought of catching the Sphinx by its tail and so
unriddle the mystery. We have known more than one “weak-minded fool,” ourselves
included, that has laboured under a similar delusion for more than one night, but all
of us were finally obliged to repeat the words of the great Galileo, Eppur si muove!
and give it up.
But Dr. Beard, he does not give it up. Preferring to keep a scornful silence as to
any reasonable explanation, he hides the secret of the above mystery in the depths of
his profoundly scientific mind. “His life is given to scientific researches,” you see;
“his physiological knowledge and neuro-physiological learning are immense,” for he
says so, and skilled as he is in combating fraud by still greater fraud (see column the
eighth), spiritualistic humbug has no more mysteries for him.
Page 42
In five minutes this scientist has done more towards science than all the rest of the
scientists put together have done in years of labour, and “would feel ashamed if he
had not.” (See same column.) In the overpowering modesty of his learning he takes
no credit upon himself for having done so, though he has discovered the astounding,
novel fact of the “cold benumbing sensation.” How Wallace, Crookes, and Varley, the
naturalist-anthropologist, the chemist and electrician, will blush with envy in their old
country! America alone is able to produce on her fertile soil such quick and
miraculous intellects. Veni, vidi, vici! was the motto of a great conqueror. Why would
not Dr. Beard select for his crest the same? And then, not unlike the Alexanders and
the Caesars of the antiquity (in the primitive simplicity of his manners), he abuses
people so elegantly, calling them “fools” when he cannot find a better argument.
A far more wise mind than Dr. Beard (shall he dispute the fact?) has suggested,
centuries ago, that the tree was to be judged according to its fruits. Spiritualism,
notwithstanding the desperate efforts of more scientific men than himself, stands its
ground without flinching for more than a quarter of a century. Where are the fruits of
the tree of science that blossoms on the soil of Dr. Beard’s mind? If we are to judge of
them by his article, then, verily, the said tree needs more than usual care. As for the
fruits, it would appear that they are as yet in the realms of “sweet delusive hope.” But
then, perhaps, the doctor was afraid to crush his readers under the weight of his
learning (true merit has been in all days modest and unassuming), and that accounts
for the learned doctor withholding from us any scientific proof of the fraud that he
pretends exposing, except the above-mentioned fact of the “cold benumbing
sensation.” But how Horatio can keep his hand and arm ice-cold under a warm shawl
for half an hour at a time, in summer as well as in any other season, and that without
having some ice concealed about his person, or how he can prevent it from thawing—
all the above is a mystery that Dr. Beard doesn’t reveal for the present.
Page 43
Maybe he will tell us something of it in his book that he advertises in the article.
Well, we only hope that the former will be more satisfactory than the latter.
I will add but a few words before ending my debate with Dr. Beard for ever. All
that he says about the lamp concealed in a bandbox, the strong confederates, etc.,
exists but in his imagination, for the mere sake of argument, we suppose. “False in
one, false in all,” says Dr. Beard on column the sixth. These words are a just verdict
to his own article.
Here I will briefly state what I reluctantly withheld up to the present moment
from the knowledge of all such as Dr. Beard. The fact was too sacred in my eyes to
allow it to be trifled with in newspaper gossiping. But now, in order to settle the
question at once, I deem it my duty as a Spiritualist to surrender it to the opinion of
the public.
On the last night that I spent with the Eddys, I was presented by George Dix and
Mayflower with a silver decoration, the upper part of a medal with which I was but
too familiar. I quote the precise words of the spirit: “We bring you this decoration, for
we think you will value it more highly than anything else. You shall recognize it, for
it is the badge of honour that was presented to your father by his Government for the
campaign of 1828, between Russia and Turkey. We got it through the influence of
your uncle, who appeared to you here this evening. We brought it from your father’s
grave at Stavropol. You shall identify it by a certain sign known to yourself.” These
words were spoken in the presence of forty witnesses. Colonel Olcott will describe
the fact and give the design of the decoration.*
I have the said decoration in my possession. I know it as having belonged to my
father. More, I have identified it by a portion that, through carelessness, I broke
myself many years ago, and, to settle all doubt in relation to it, I possess the
photograph of my father (a picture that has never been at the Eddys’, and could never
possibly have been seen by any of them) on which this medal is plainly visible.
* [See H.P.B.’s explanation on pp. 203-04 of the present Volume. On page 357 of Col. Olcott’s work
People from the Other World may be found the drawing of both the buckle and the decoration itself.
Page 44
Query for Dr. Beard: How could the Eddys know that my father was buried at
Stavropol; that he was ever presented with such a medal, or that he had been present
and in actual service at the time of the war of 1828?
Willing as we are to give every one his due, we feel compelled to say on behalf
of Dr. Beard that he has not boasted of more than he can do, advising the Eddys to
take a few private lessons of him in the trickery of mediumship. The learned doctor
must be expert in all such trickeries. We are likewise ready to admit that in saying as
he did that “his article would only confirm the more the Spiritualists in their belief”
(and he ought to have added, “convince no one else”), Dr. Beard has proved himself
to be a greater “prophetic medium” than any other in this country!
23 Irving Place.
[In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. I, pp. 6-7, where the above article is pasted, H.P.B.
added in pen and ink under her signature:]
So much in defence of phenomena, as to whether these Spirits are ghosts is
another question.
[In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. I, pp. 7-8, there is a cutting from The Daily Graphic
of November 1874, which deals with the visit of a Mr. Brown, the “mind reader,” to
the Eddys’ Homestead. Mr. Brown relates how one of the “spirits” brought to H.P.B.
one of the decorations which had belonged to her father, and says that “Madame was
overwhelmed with gratitude.”
H.P.B. underlined the word overwhelmed and added at the end of the article in
pen and ink:]
Overwhelmed—be switched! . . . . not my father’s pet, if you please. H. P.
Blavatsky is never “overwhelmed.”
Page 45
[In Scrapbook, Vol. I, p. 8, the account of Mr. Brown is followed immediately
by an article entitled “Unpractical Spirits,” presumably also from The Daily Graphic.
It is signed with the initials “I.F.F.” which obviously stand for Irvin Francis Fern.
H.P.B. added the following remarks in pen and ink:]
Bravo! Irvin Francis Fern—a great Occultist. He IS RIGHT but we have to
defend phenomena & prove it too before we teach them philosophy.
[It is interesting and significant to bear in mind that at the earliest stage of the
modern Theosophical effort, in addition to H. P. Blavatsky and Col. Henry S. Olcott,
a third individual had been selected by the Teachers to play an important part in the
initial work. This individual was Elbridge Gerry Brown, a young American who was
Editor of the Spiritual Scientist of Boston, Mass.
A careful perusal of letters received by Col. Olcott from the Adept-Brother who
signed himself Serapis throws a good deal of light on this early plan. The Egyptian
Section of the Brotherhood, under whose special care the earliest stage of the
Movement had been placed, appears to have intended a broadening and deepening of
contemporary Spiritualism, to be achieved by the introduction into its midst of a
larger philosophy. Fraudulent phenomena had to be sifted from genuine ones, and the
true occult explanation of the latter was to be attempted. In the beginning, E. Gerry
Brown evidently responded to these ideals and plans.
The day after H.P.B. had published her letter to the Editor of The Daily Graphic,
in its issue of November 13, 1874, E. Gerry Brown wrote her a letter, the original of
which is pasted in H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. III, p. 259. It runs as follows:
“Mme. H. P. Blavatsky.
“I have read your article in the Daily Graphic and am so much pleased with the
statements therein, and the powerful refutations of Dr. Beard’s so-called ‘arguments,’
that I hasten to acknowledge to you, as editor of the Scientist, my gratitude for the
service you have done Spiritualism in re-opening the eyes of the skeptical world.
“Should you ever be in Boston, I beg that you will grant me permission, to call
on you that I may learn more of the Eddy Family from one who has had so wonderful
an experience and presents it in so interesting and attractive style.
“I have taken the liberty, to send you a copy of the Scientist.
Page 46
“Hoping you will pardon my enthusiasm, which thus seeks expression, I have
the honor to subscribe myself,
with respect, truly yours
Gerry Brown.”
9 Bromfield Street, Boston.
No further developments seem to have taken place for some time. According to
Col. Olcott’s account, in his Old Diary Leaves, Vol. I, pp. 72-73, it was not until the
first quarter of 1875 that he and H.P.B. became seriously interested in E. Gerry
Brown’s journal. H.P.B. herself, in an undated letter written to Prof. Hiram Corson in
the Spring of 1875 calls the efforts of Brown to his attention, speaks of the
persecution he had been subjected to, and voices her intention to help Brown with his
Journal and to secure his collaboration. She also suggests to Prof. Corson to write for
the Spiritual Scientist.*]
[The following excerpt from a letter is the first item from H.P.B.’s pen in the pages of
the Spiritual Scientist:]
* Cf. E. R. Corson, Some Unpublished Letters of H. P. Blavatsky, letter No. 8.
[Spiritual Scientist, Boston, Vol. I, December 3, 1874, pp. 148-9]
From a letter received from Mme. Blavatsky last week we make the following
extracts, want of space alone preventing us from publishing it entire. It is written in
her usual lively and entertaining style, and her opinions expressed are worthy of
careful study, many of them being fully consistent with the true state of affairs. She
Page 47
As it is, I have only done my duty: first, towards Spiritualism, that I have
defended as well as I could from the attacks of imposture under its too transparent
mask of science; then, towards two helpless, slandered “mediums”—the last word
becoming fast in our days the synonym of “martyr”; secondly, I have contributed my
mite in opening the eyes of an indifferent public to the real, intrinsic value of such a
man as Dr. Beard. But I am obliged to confess that I really do not believe in having
done any good—at least, any practical good—to Spiritualism itself; and I never hope
to perform such a feat as that were I to keep on bombarding for an eternity all the
newspapers of America with my challenges and refutations of the lies told by the socalled
“scientific exposers.”
It is with a profound sadness in my heart that I acknowledge this fact, for I begin
to think there is no help for it. For over fifteen years have I fought my battle for the
blessed truth; I have travelled and preached it—though I never was born for a lecturer
—from the snow-covered tops of the Caucasian Mountains, as well as from the sandy
valleys of the Nile. I have proved the truth of it practically and by persuasion. For the
sake of Spiritualism I have left my home, an easy life amongst a civilized society, and
have become a wanderer upon the face of this earth. I had already seen my hopes
realized, beyond the most sanguinary [sic] expectations, when, in my restless desire
for more knowledge, my unlucky star brought me to America.
Knowing this country to be the cradle of modern Spiritualism, I came over here
from France with feelings not unlike those of a Mohammedan approaching the
birthplace of his prophet. I had forgotten that “no prophet is without honor save in his
own country.” In the less than fourteen months that I am here, sad experience has but
too well sustained the never-dying evidence of this immortal truth!
What little I have done towards defending my belief, I am ever ready to do it
over and over again, as long as I have a breath of life left in me. But what good will it
ever do? We have a popular and wise Russian saying that “one Cossack on the
battlefield is no warrior.” Such is my case, together with many other poor, struggling
wretches, every one of whom, like a solitary watch, sent far ahead in advance of the
army, has to fight his own battle, and defend the entrusted post, unaided by no one
but himself. There is no union between Spiritualists, no “entente cordiale,” as the
French say. Judge Edmonds said, some years ago, that they numbered in their ranks
over eleven million in this country alone; and I believe it to be true, in which case it is
but to be the more deplored.When one man—as Dr. Beard did and will do it yet—
dares to defy such a formidable body as that, there must be some cause for it. His
insults, gross and vulgar as they are, are too fearless to leave one particle of doubt
that if he does it, it is but because he knows too well that he can do so with impunity
and perfect ease.
Page 48
Year after year the American Spiritualists have allowed themselves to be ridiculed
and slighted by everyone who had a mind to do so, protesting so feebly as to give
their opponents the most erroneous idea of their weakness. Am I wrong, then, in
saying that our Spiritualists are more to be blamed than Dr. Beard himself in all this
ridiculous polemic? Moral cowardice breeds more contempt than the “familiarity” of
the old motto. How can we expect such a scientific sleight-of-hand as he is to respect
a body that does not respect itself? We ourselves brought upon our heads that shower
of abuse lavished by his hand with the dexterity and ability of a drunken London
My humble opinion is, that the majority of our Spiritualists are too much afraid
for their “respectability” when called upon to confess and acknowledge their “belief.”
Will you agree with me, if I say that the dread of the social Areopagus is so deeply
rooted in the hearts of your American people, that to endeavour to tear it out of them
would be undertaking to shake the whole system of society from top to bottom?
“Respectability” and “fashion” have brought more than one utter materialist to select
(for mere show) the Episcopalian and other wealthy churches. But Spiritualism is not
“fashionable,” as yet, and that’s where the trouble is. Notwithstanding its immense
and daily increasing numbers, it has not won, till now, the right of citizenship. Its
chief leaders are not clothed in gold and purple and fine raiments; for not unlike
Christianity in the beginning of its era, Spiritualism numbers in its ranks more of the
humble and afflicted ones, than of the powerful and wealthy of this earth.
(From W.G. Langworthy Taylor’s Katie Fox, New York, 1933.
Consult the Bio-Bibliographical Index for biographical sketch.)
Page 49
(From Sir A. Conan Doyle’s History of Spiritualism, London, 1926.
Consult the Bio-Bibliographical Index for biographical sketch.)
Spiritualists belonging to the latter class will seldom dare to step out on the arena of
publicity boldly proclaim their belief in the face of the whole world; that hybridous
monster, called “public opinion,” is too much for them; and what does a Dr. Beard
care for the opinion of the poor and the humble ones? He knows but too well, that his
insulting terms of “fools” and “weak-minded idiots,” as his accusations for
credulousness, will never be applied to themselves by any of the proud castes of
modern “Pharisees”; Spiritualists, as they know themselves to be, and have perhaps
been for years, if they deign to notice the insult at all, it will be but to answer him as
the cowardly apostle did before them, “Man, I tell thee, I know him not!”
St. Peter was the only one of the remaining eleven that denied his Christ thrice
before the Pharisees, that is just the reason why, of all the apostles, he is the most
revered by the Catholics, and has been selected to rule over the most wealthy as the
most proud, greedy and hypocritical of all the churches in Christendom! And so, half
Christians and half believers in the new dispensation, the majority of those eleven
millions of Spiritualists stand with one foot on the threshold of Spiritualism, pressing
firmly with the other one the steps leading to the altars of their “fashionable” places
of worship, ever ready to leap over under the protection of the latter in hours of
danger. They know that under the cover of such immense “respectability” they are
perfectly safe. Who would presume or dare to accuse of “credulous stupidity” a
member belonging to certain “fashionable congregations”? Under the powerful and
holy shade of any of those “pillars of truth” every heinous crime is liable to become
immediately transformed into but a slight and petty deviation from strict Christian
virtue. Jupiter, for all his numberless “Don Juan”-like frolics, was not the less
considered for it by his worshippers as the “Father of Gods”!
Page 53
[In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. I, pp. 11-12, a cutting is pasted from The
Spiritualist of January 1, 1875. It is entitled “Materialized Spirit Forms” and is an
article written by Benjamin Coleman who deals with Robert Dale Owen’s opinion on
the genuineness of the phenomena of materialization. The following parts were
commented upon by H.P.B.:
“The Countess’ presence at several of the Eddy séances led to most surprising
manifestations, including the appearance of several spirits of persons known to her in
foreign countries.”
H.P.B. marked this sentence with blue pencil and added at the side in pen and
Yes; for I have called them out MYSELF.
[The last sentence of the article: “These American facts, coupled with our own,
should have an important bearing in correcting the errors of both science and
theology”—w as continued by H.P.B. who added in pen and ink:]
—and—Spiritualism please add. Belief in the agency of “Spirits” or
disembodied souls in these phenomena is as foolish & irrational as belief in the
agency of the Holy Ghost in the fabrication of Jesus if the latter ever lived.
H. P. Blavatsky.
[The following two items. entitled “Heroic Women” and “A Card from the
Countess Blavatsky,” appear as cuttings from a newspaper in H.P.B.’s Scrapbook,
Vol. I, p. 17. The name and date of the newspaper do not appear in print, but H.P.B.
wrote in ink above the first cutting: “From the N. Y. Mercury, Jan. 18, 1875.”
It is probable that these two items appeared one week apart from each other, but
the actual dates have remained somewhat uncertain, as the files of both the New York
Mercury and Sunday Mercury have not been located, and therefore could not be
Page 54
Words that are underlined have been underscored by H.P.B. herself in her
Scrapbook. Her various comments at the side of the cuttings appear as footnotes.]
It is not often that two heroines appear at the same time before the public, yet
Helen P. Blavatsky and Clementine Gerebko have entered the legal arena in order to
have a slight business misunderstanding settled by Judge Pratt of the Supreme Court,
Brooklyn. Both of these ladies possess a romantic and remarkable record.
Helena P. Blavatsky, who is about forty years [of] age,* at the age of seventeen
married a Russian nobleman then in his seventy-third year. For many years† they
resided together at Odessa, and finally a legal separation‡ was affected. The husband
died recently in his ninety-seventh year. The widow is now a resident of the City of
New York, and is highly accomplished. She converses and writes fluently in Russian,
Polish, Romaic, Low Dutch, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and
English. She has translated the works of Darwin and the Treatise of Buckle on
Civilization in England into the Russian language. She is thoroughly versed in
Darwinian theory, is a firm believer in Wallace’s scientific spiritualism, and is a
member of the Order of Rosicrucians.
Her life has been one of many vicissitudes, and the area of her experiences is
bounded only by the world. It is said that she visited this country with a party of
tourists. On her return to Europe she married†† and in the struggle for liberty fought
under the victorious standard of Garibaldi. She won renown for unflinching bravery
in many hard-fought battles, and was elevated to a high position on the staff of the
great general. She still bears the scars of many wounds she received in the conflict.
* a fib.
† a lie—was with him but for three weeks.
‡ legal, because he died.
†† whom? when!! how!?
Page 55
Twice her horse was shot under her, and she escaped hasty death only by her
coolness and matchless skill.*
Altogether Madame Blavatsky is
* Every word is a lie. Never was on “Garibaldi’s staff.” Went with friends to Mentana to help
shooting the Papists and got shot myself. Nobody’s business—least of any a d — d reporter’s.
To the Editors of the N. Y. Sunday Mercury.
In last Sunday’s issue I read an article headed “Heroic Women,” and find that I
figure therein as the primary heroine. My name is H. P. Blavatsky. I decline the honor
of a comparison with “the latter heroine” C. Gerebko, and proceed to explain some of
the statements of the said article. If I married a Russian “nobleman” I never resided
with him anywhere; for three weeks after the sacrifice I left him for reasons plausible
enough in my eyes, as in those of the “puritan” world. I do not know if he died at the
advanced age of ninety-seven as for the last twelve years†† this noble patriarch has
entirely vanished out of my sight and memory. But I beg leave to say that I never was
married again, for this one solitary case of “conjugal love” has proved too much for
me. I did not get acquainted with Mrs. Gerebko at the residence of the Russian
consul; I never had the honr of visiting this gentleman, but upon business in his
office. I know Mr. G.’s family in Odessa, and he never rose above the rank of a
captain of a private steamer belonging to Prince Worontzoff. I was residing at Tiflis
when Mrs. Gerebko came there in 1866 from Teheran (Persia), and heard of her as
well as others did daily for about two months.
† [“the Countess” scored out in ink by H.P.B.]
‡ Answered a long letter but they inserted but this paragraph and added LIES.—H.P.B.
†† [“for the last twelve years” scored out and substituted for it at the side: since then.]
Page 56
She married Gerebko at Kutais. When they arrived in this country, a year ago, they
did not purchase a beautiful residence, but simply bought a farm of six acres of land
at Northport for the modest sum of $1,000. My unlucky star brought me in contact
with her about the latter part of June last. She represented to me her farm as giving a
revenue of nearly $2,000 yearly, and induced me to go into partnership with her on
the following terms: I had to give her $1,000 and pay half of the expenses that might
occur, for which sum I bought of her the right on the half of the yearly profit of
everything. We made the contract for three years, and it was recorded. I paid the
money, and went to live with them. The first month I spent nearly $500 for buildings
and otherwise; at the expiration of which month she prayed to be released of the
contract, as she was ready to pay me my money back. I consented, and gave her
permission to sell at auction all we had except the farm land and buildings, and we
both came to New York in view of settlement. She was to give me a promissory note
or a mortgage on the property to the amount of the sum due by her, and that
immediately after our coming to New York. Alas! three days after we had taken
lodging in common, on one fine afternoon, upon my returning home, I found that the
fair countess had left the place, neglecting to pay me back her little bill of $1,000. I
am now waiting patiently for the opinion of an American Jury.
124 East Sixteenth Street.
[Banner of Light. Boston, Vol. XXXVI, January 30, 1875. pp. 2-3]
A few weeks ago, in a letter, extracts from which have appeared in the Spiritual
Scientist of December 3rd, I alluded to the deplorable lack of accord between
American Spiritualists, and the consequences of the same.
Page 57
At that time I had just fought out my useless battle with a foe who, though beneath
my own personal notice, had insulted all the Spiritualists of this country, as a body, in
a caricature of a so-called scientific exposé. In dealing with him I dealt but with one
of the numerous “bravos” enlisted in the army of the bitter opponents of our belief,
and my task was, comparatively speaking, an easy one, if we take it for granted that
falsehood can hardly withstand truth, as the latter will ever speak for itself. Since that
day the scales have turned; prompted now as then, by the same love of justice and fair
play, I feel compelled to throw [down] my glove once more in our defence, seeing
that so few of the adherents to our cause are bold enough to accept that duty, and so
many of them show the white feather of pusillanimity
I indicated in my letter that such a state of things, such a complete lack of
harmony, and such cowardice, I may add, among our ranks, subjected the Spiritualists
and the cause to constant attacks from a compact, aggressive public opinion, based
upon ignorance and wicked prejudice, intolerant, remorseless and thoroughly
dishonest in the employment of its methods. As a vast army, amply equipped, may be
cut to pieces by an inferior force well trained and handled, so Spiritualism,
numbering its hosts by millions, and able to vanquish every reactionary theology by a
little directed effort, is constantly harassed, weakened, impeded by the convergent
attacks of pulpit and press, and by the treachery and cowardice of its trusted leaders.
It is one of these professed leaders that I propose to question today, as closely as my
rights, not only as a widely known Spiritualist, but a resident of the United States,
will allow me. When I see the numbers of believers in this country, the broad basis of
their belief, the impregnability of their position, and the talent that is embraced within
their ranks, I am disgusted at the spectacle that they manifest at this very moment,
after the Katie King—how shall we say—fraud? By no means, since the last word of
this sensational comedy is far from being spoken.
There is not a country on the face of our planet, with a jury attached to its courts
of justice, but gives the benefit of the doubt to every criminal brought within the law,
and a chance to be heard and tell his story.
Page 58
Is such the case between the pretended “spirit-performer,” the alleged bogus
Katie King, and the Holmes mediums? I answer most decidedly no, and mean to
prove it, if no one else does.
I deny the right of any man or woman to wrench from our hands all possible
means of finding out the truth. I deny the right of any editor of a daily newspaper to
accuse and publish accusations, refusing at the same time to hear one word of
justification from the defendants, and so, instead of helping people to clear up the
matter, leaving them more than ever to grope their way in the dark.
The biography of “Katie King” has come out at last; a sworn certificate, if you
please, equally endorsed (under oath?) by Dr. Child,* who throughout the whole of
this “burlesque” epilogue has ever appeared in it, like some inevitable deus ex
machina. The whole of this made-up elegy (by whom? evidently not by Mrs. White)
is redolent with the perfume of erring innocence, of Magdalene-like tales of woe and
sorrow, and tardy repentance and the like, giving us the abnormal idea of a
pickpocket in the act of robbing our soul of its most precious, thrilling sensations; the
carefully-prepared explanations on some points that appear now and then as so many
stumbling-blocks in the way of a seemingly fair exposé, do not preclude,
nevertheless, through the whole of it, the possibility of doubt, for many awkward
semblances of truth, partly taken from the confessions of that fallen angel, Mrs.
White, and partly—most of them we should say—copied from the private notebook
of her “amanuensis,” give you a fair idea of the veracity of this sworn certificate.
* [In her Scrapbook, Vol. I, p. 19, where the cutting of this article is pasted, H.P.B. added the
following remark in pen and ink:
Child was a confederate. He took money . . . . . 1mes’ séance. He is a ra . . .l.
The last word may be rascal.—Compiler.]
Page 59
For instance, according to her own statement and the evidence furnished by the
habitués of the Holmeses, Mrs. White having never been present at any of the dark
circles (her alleged acting as Katie King excluding all possibility, on her part, of such
a public exhibition of flesh and bones), how comes she to know so well, in every
particular, about the tricks of the mediums, the programme of their performances,
etc.? Then, again, Mrs. White, who remembers so well—by rote we may say every
word exchanged between Katie King and Mr. Owen, the spirit and Dr. Child, has
evidently forgotten all that was ever said by her in her bogus personation to Dr.
Fellger;* she does not even remember a very important secret communicated by her
to the latter gentleman! What an extraordinary combination of memory and absence
of mind at the same time! May not a certain memorandum book, with its carefully
noted contents, account for it, perhaps? The document is signed, under oath, with the
name of a non-existing spirit, Katie King. . . . Very clever!
All protestations of innocence or explanations sent in by Mr. or Mrs. Holmes,
written or verbal, are peremptorily refused publication by the press. No respectable
paper dares take upon itself the responsibility of such an unpopular cause.
The public feels triumphant; the clergy, forgetting, in the excitement of their
victory, the Brooklyn scandal, rub their hands and chuckle; a certain exposer of
materialized spirits and mind-reading, like some monstrous anti-spiritual mitrailleuse,
shoots forth a volley of missiles, and sends a condoling letter to Mr. Owen;
Spiritualists, crestfallen, ridiculed and defeated, feel crushed for ever under the
pretended exposure and that overwhelming, pseudonymous evidence. . . . The day of
Waterloo has come for us, and sweeping [away] the last remnants of the defeated
army, it remains for us to ring our own death-knell. . . . Spirits, beware! Henceforth, if
you lack prudence, your materialized forms will have to stop at the cabinet doors, and
in perfect tremor melt away from sight, singing in chorus Poe’s Nevermore!
* [A well-known and highly respected Philadelphia physician—Dr. Adolphus Fellger.—Compiler.]
Page 60
One would really suppose that the whole belief of us Spiritualists hung at the
girdles of the Holmeses, and that in case they should be unmasked as tricksters, we
might as well vote our immortality an old woman’s delusion.
Is the scraping off of a barnacle the destruction of a ship? But, moreover, we are
not sufficiently furnished with any plausible proofs at all.
Colonel Olcott is here, and has begun investigations. His first tests with Mrs.
Holmes alone, for Mr. Holmes is lying sick at Vineland, have proved satisfactory
enough in his eyes, to induce Mr. Owen to return to the spot of his first love, namely,
the Holmes’ cabinet. He began by tying Mrs. Holmes up in a bag, the string drawn
tightly round her neck, knotted and sealed in the presence of Mr. Owen, Col. Olcott
and a third gentleman. After that the medium was placed in the empty cabinet, which
was rolled away into the middle of the room, and it was made a perfect impossibility
for her to use her hands. The door being closed, hands appeared in the aperture, then
the outlines of a face came, which gradually formed into the classical head of John
King, turban, beard and all. He kindly allowed the investigators to stroke his beard,
touch his warm face, and patted their hands with his. After the séance was over, Mrs.
Holmes, with many tears of gratitude, in the presence of the three gentlemen, assured
Mr. Owen most solemnly that she had spoken many a time to Dr. Child about “Katie”
leaving her presents in the house and dropping them about the place, and that she—
Mrs. Holmes—wanted Mr. Owen to know it; but that the Doctor had given her most
peremptory orders to the contrary, forbidding her to let the former know it, his precise
words being; “Don’t do it; it’s useless; he must not know it!” I leave the question of
Mrs. Holmes’ veracity as to this fact for Dr. Child to settle with her.
On the other hand, we have the woman, Eliza White, exposer and accuser of the
Holmeses, who remains up to the present day a riddle and an Egyptian mystery to
every man and woman of this city, except to the clever and equally invisible party—a
sort of protecting deity—who took the team in hand, and drove the whole concern of
“Katie’s” materialization to destruction, and at what he considered such a first-rate
Page 61
She is not to be met, or seen, or interviewed, or even spoken to by anyone, least
of all by the ex-admirers of “Katie King” herself, so anxious to get a peep at the
modest, blushing beauty who deemed herself worthy of personating the fair spirit.
Maybe it’s rather dangerous to allow them the chance of comparing for themselves
the features of both? But the most perplexing fact of this most perplexing imbroglio
is that Mr. R. D. Owen, by his own confession to me, has never, not even on the day
of the exposure, seen Mrs. White, or talked to her, or had otherwise the least chance
to scan her features close enough for him to identify her. He caught a glimpse of her
general outline but once, viz., at the mock séance of the 5th of December, referred to
in her biography, when she appeared to half a dozen witnesses (invited to testify and
identify the fraud) emerging de novo from the cabinet, with her face closely covered
with a double veil (!), after which the sweet vision vanished and appeared no more!
Mr. Owen adds that he is not prepared to swear to the identity of Mrs. White and
Katie King.
May I be allowed to inquire as to the necessity of such a profound mystery, after
the promise of a public exposure of all the fraud? It seems to me that the said
exposure would have been far more satisfactory if conducted otherwise. Why not
give the fairest chance to R. D. Owen, the party who has suffered the most on account
of this disgusting swindle—if swindle there is—to compare Mrs. White with his
Katie? May I suggest again that it is perhaps because the spirit’s features are but too
well impressed on his memory, poor, noble, confiding gentleman! Gauze dresses and
moonshine, coronets and stars can possibly be counterfeited, in a half-darkened room,
while features, answering line for line to the “spirit Katie’s” face, are not so easily
made up; the latter require very clever preparations A lie may be easy enough for a
smooth tongue, but no pug nose can lie itself into a classical one.
Page 62
A very honorable gentleman of my acquaintance, a fervent admirer of the “spirit
Katie’s” beauty, who has seen and addressed her at two feet distance about fifty
times, tells me that on a certain evening, when Dr. Child begged the spirit to let him
see her tongue (did the honourable doctor want to compare it with Mrs. White’s
tongue—the lady having been his patient?), she did so, and upon her opening her
mouth, the gentleman in question assures me that he plainly saw, what in his
admiring phraseology he terms “the most beautiful set of teeth—two rows of pearls.”
He remarked* most particularly those teeth. Now there are some wicked, slandering
gossips, who happen to have cultivated most intimately Mrs. White’s acquaintance in
the happy days of her innocence, before her fall and subsequent exposé, and they tell
us very bluntly (we beg the penitent angel’s pardon, we repeat but a hearsay), that this
lady can hardly number among her other natural charms, the rare beauty of pearly
teeth, or a perfect, most beautifully formed hand and arm. Why not show her teeth at
once to the said admirer, and so shame the slanders? Why shun “Katie’s” best
friends? If we were so anxious as she seems to be to prove “who is who,” we would
surely submit with pleasure to the operation of showing our teeth, yea, even in a court
of justice. The above fact, trifling as it may seem at first sight, would be considered
as a very important one by any intelligent juryman in a question of personal
Mr. Owen’s statement to us is corroborated by “Katie King” herself in her
biography, a sworn document, remember, in the following words:
* [H.P.B. uses on many occasions the word “remarked” when she actually means “noticed.” It is an
unconscious translation of the French word “remarquer” which means “to notice.”—Compiler.]
Page 63
“She consented to have an interview with some gentlemen who had seen her
personating the spirit, on condition that she would be allowed to keep a veil over her
face all the time she was conversing with them.”*
Now pray why should these “too credulous, weak-minded gentlemen,” as the
immortal Dr. Beard would say, be subjected again to such an extra strain on their
blind faith? We should say that that was just the proper time to come out and prove to
them what was the nature of the mental aberration they were labouring under for so
many months. Well, if they do swallow this new veiled proof they are welcome to it.
Vulgus vult decipi—decipiatur! But I expect something more substantial before
submitting in guilty silence to be laughed at. As it is, the case stands thus:
According to the same biography (same column) the mock séance was prepared
and carried out—to everyone’s heart’s content—through the endeavours of the
amateur detective, who by the way, if any one wants to know, is a Mr. W. O. Leslie, a
contractor or agent for the Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York Railroad, residing
in this city. If the Press, and several of the most celebrated victims of the fraud, are
under bond of secrecy with him, I am not, and mean to say what I know. And so the
said séance took place on the 5th of December last, which fact appearing in a sworn
evidence, implies that Mr. Leslie had wrested from Mrs. White the confession of her
guilt at least several days previous to that date, though the precise day of the
“amateur’s” triumph is very cleverly withheld in the sworn certificate. Now comes a
new conundrum.
On the evening of the 2nd and 3rd of December, at two séances held at the
Holmeses’, I, myself, in the presence of Robert Dale Owen and Dr. Child (chief
manager of those performances, from whom I got on the same morning an admission
card), together with twenty more witnesses, saw the spirit of Katie step out of the
cabinet twice, in full form and beauty; and I can swear in any court of justice that she
did not bear the least resemblance to Mrs. White’s portrait. As I am unwilling to base
my argument upon any other testimony than my own, I will not dwell upon the
alleged apparition of Katie King at the Holmeses’ on the 5th of December, to Mr.
Roberts and fifteen others, among whom was Mr. W. H. Clarke, a reporter for The
Daily Graphic, for I happened to be out of town, though, if this fact is demonstrated,
it will go far against Mrs. White, for on that precise evening, and at the same hour,
she was exhibiting herself as the bogus Katie at the mock séance.
* Philadelphia Inquirer, January 11, 1875, 4th column, “Katie King’s Biography.”
Page 64
Something still more worthy of consideration is found in the most positive assertion
of a gentleman, a Mr. Westcott, who on that evening of the 5th, on his way home
from the real séance, met in the car Mr. Owen, Dr. Child and his wife, all three
returning from the mock séance. Now it so happened that this gentleman mentioned
to them about having just seen the spirit Katie come out of the cabinet, adding “he
thought she never looked better”; upon hearing which Mr. Robert Dale Owen stared
at him in amazement, and all the three looked greatly perplexed.
And so I here but insist on the apparition of the spirit at the medium’s house on
the evenings [of] the 2nd and 3rd of December, when I witnessed the phenomenon,
together with Robert Dale Owen and other parties. It would be worse than useless to
offer or accept the poor excuse that the confession of the woman White, her exposure
of the fraud, the delivery to Mr. Leslie of all her dresses and presents received by her
in the name of Katie King, the disclosure of the sad news by this devoted gentleman
to Mr. Owen, and the preparation of the mock séance cabinet and other important
matters, had all of them taken place on the 4th; the more so, as we are furnished with
most positive proofs that Dr. Child at least, if not Mr. Owen knew all about Mr.
Leslie’s success with Mrs. White several days beforehand. Knowing then of the
fraud, how could Mr. Leslie allow it to be still carried on, as the fact of Katie’s
apparition at the Holmeses’ on the 2nd and 3rd of December proves it to have been
the case? Any gentleman, even with a very moderate degree of honour about him,
would never allow the public to be fooled and defrauded any longer, unless he had
the firm resolution of catching the bogus spirit on the spot and proving the
Here H.P.B. and Col. H.S. Olcott met each other, October 14, 1874.
(From Col. H. S. Olcott’s People from the Other World, Hartford, Conn., 1875.)
Page 65
(From his Reminiscences, Providence, R.I., 1902. Consult the
Bio-Bibliographical Index for biographical data.)
But no such thing occurred; quite the contrary; for Dr. Child, who had constituted
himself from the first not only chief superintendent of the séances, cabinet and
materialization business, but also cashier and ticket-holder (paying the mediums at
first ten dollars per séance, as he did, and subsequently fifteen dollars, and pocketing
the rest of the proceeds), on that same evening of the 3rd took the admission money
from every visitor as quietly as he ever did. I will add furthermore, that I, in propria
persona, handed him on that very night a five-dollar bill, and that he (Dr. Child) kept
the whole of it, remarking that the balance could be made good to us by future
Will Dr. Child presume to say that getting ready, as he then was, in company
with Mr. Leslie, to produce the bogus Katie King on the 5th of December, he knew
nothing, as yet, of the fraud on the 3rd?
Further; in the same biography (Chapter viii, Column the 1st), it is stated that,
immediately upon Mrs. White’s return from Blissfield, Mich., she called on Dr.
Child, and offered to expose the whole humbug she had been engaged in, but that he
would not listen to her. Upon that occasion she was not veiled, as indeed there was no
necessity for her to be, since by Dr. Child’s own admission she had been a patient of
his, and under his medical treatment. In a letter from Holmes to Dr. Child, dated
Blissfield, August 28th, 1874, the former writes:
“Mrs. White says you and the friends were very rude, ‘wanted to look into all
our boxes and trunks, and break open locks. What were you looking for, or expecting
to find?’”
Page 66
All these several circumstances show in the clearest possible manner that Dr.
Child and Mrs. White were on terms much more intimate then than that of casual
acquaintance, and it is the height of absurdity to assert that if Mrs. White and Katie
King were identical, the fraud was not perfectly well known to the “Father
Confessor” [see narrative of John and Katie King, p. 45]. But a sidelight is thrown
upon this comedy from the pretended biography of John King and his daughter Katie,
written at their dictation in his own office by Dr. Child himself. This book was given
out to the world as an authentic revelation from these two spirits. It tells us that they
stepped in and stepped out of his office, day after day, as any mortal being might, and
after holding brief conversations, followed by long narratives, they fully endorsed the
genuineness of their own apparitions in the Holmes’ cabinet. Moreover, the spirits
appearing at the public séances, corroborated the statements which they made to their
amanuensis in his office; the two dovetailing together, and making a consistent story.
Now, if the Holmes’ Kings were Mrs. White, who were the spirits visiting the
Doctor’s office? and if the spirits visiting him were genuine, who were those that
appeared at the public séances? In which particular has the “Father Confessor”
defrauded the public? In selling a book containing false biographies or exposing
bogus spirits at the Holmeses? Which or both? Let the Doctor choose.
If his conscience is so tender as to force him into print with his certificate and
affidavits, why does it not sink deep enough to reach his pocket, and compel him to
refund to us the money obtained by him under false pretenses? According to his own
confession, the Holmeses received from him, up to the time they left town, about
$1,200, for four months of daily séances. That he admitted every night as many
visitors as he could possibly find room for—sometimes as many as thirty-five—is a
fact that will be corroborated by every person who has seen the phenomena more
than once. Furthermore, some six or seven reliable witnesses have told us that the
modest fee of $1 was only for the habitués; too curious or over-anxious visitors
having to pay sometimes as much as $5, and in one instance $10. This last fact I give
under all reserve, not having had to pay so much as that myself.
Now let an impartial investigator of this Philadelphia imbroglio take a pencil
and cast up the profit left after paying the mediums in this nightly spirit speculation
lasting many months. The result would be to show that the business of a spirit “Father
Confessor” is, on the whole, a very lucrative one.
Page 67
Ladies and Gentlemen of the spiritual belief, methinks we are all of us between
the horns of a very wonderful dilemma. If you happen to find your position
comfortable, I do not, and so will try to extricate myself.
Let it be perfectly understood, though, that I do not intend in the least to
undertake at present the defense of the Holmeses. They may be the greatest frauds for
what I know or care. My only purpose is to know for a certainty to whom I am
indebted for my share of ridicule—small as it may be, luckily for me. If we
Spiritualists are to be laughed at, and scoffed, and ridiculed, and sneered at, we ought
to know at least the reason why. Either there was a fraud or there was none. If the
fraud is a sad reality, and Dr. Child by some mysterious combination of his personal
cruel fate has fallen the first victim to it, after having proved himself so anxious for
the sake of his honour and character to stop at once the further progress of such a
deceit on a public that had hitherto looked on him alone as the party responsible for
the perfect integrity and genuineness of a phenomenon so fully endorsed by him, in
all particulars, why does not the Doctor come out the first and help us to the clue of
all this mystery? Well aware of the fact that the swindled and defrauded parties can at
any day assert their rights to the restitution of moneys laid out by them solely on the
ground of their entire faith in him they had trusted, why does he not sue the
Holmeses, and so prove his own innocence? He cannot but admit, that in the eyes of
some initiated parties, his case looks far more ugly as it now stands, than the
accusation under which the Holmeses vainly struggle. Or, if there was no fraud, or if
it is not fully proved, as it cannot well be on the shallow testimony of a nameless
woman, signing documents with pseudonyms, why then all this comedy on the part of
the principal partner in the “Katie materialization” business? Was not Dr. Child the
institutor, the promulgator, and we may say the creator of what proves to have been
but a bogus phenomenon, after all?
Page 68
Was not he the advertising agent of this incarnated humbug—the Barnum of this
spiritual show? And now, that he has helped to fool not only Spiritualists but the
world at large, whether as a confederate himself or one of the weak-minded fools—
no matter, as long as it is demonstrated that it was he that helped us to this scrape—he
imagines that by helping to accuse the mediums, and expose the fraud, by fortifying
with his endorsement all manner of bogus affidavits and illegal certificates from nonexisting
parties, he hopes to find himself henceforth perfectly clear of responsibility
to the persons he has dragged after him into this infamous swamp!
We must demand a legal investigation. We have the right to insist upon it, for we
Spiritualists have bought this right at a dear price: with the lifelong reputation of Mr.
Owen as an able and reliable writer and trustworthy witness of the phenomena, who
may henceforth become a doubted and ever-ridiculed visionary by skeptical
wiseacres. We have bought this right with the prospect that all of us, whom Dr. Child
has unwillingly or otherwise (time will prove it) fooled into belief in his Katie King,
will become for a time the butts for endless raillery, satires and jokes from the press
and ignorant masses. We regret to feel obliged to contradict on this point such an
authority in all matters as The Daily Graphic, but if orthodox laymen rather decline to
see this fraud thoroughly investigated in a court of justice, for fear of the Holmeses
becoming entitled to the crown of martyrs, we have no such fear as that, and repeat
with Mr. Hudson Tuttle that “better perish the cause with the impostors, than live
such a life of eternal ostracism, with no chance for justice or redress.”
Why in the name of all that is wonderful, should Dr. Child have all the laurels of
this unfought battle, in which the attacked army seems forever doomed to be defeated
without so much as a struggle? Why should he have all the material benefit of this
materialized humbug, and R. D. Owen, an honest Spiritualist, whose name is
universally respected, have all the kicks and thumps of the skeptical press?
Page 69
Is this fair and just? How long shall we Spiritualists be turned over like so many
scapegoats to the unbelievers, by cheating mediums and speculating prophets? Like
some modern shepherd Paris, Mr. Owen fell a victim to the snares of this pernicious,
newly materialized Helen; and on him falls heaviest the present reaction that
threatens to produce a new Trojan war. But the Homer of the Philadelphia Iliad—the
one who has appeared in the past as the elegiac poet and biographer of that same
Helen, and who appears in the present kindling up the spark of doubt against the
Holmeses, till, if not speedily quenched, it might become a roaring ocean of flames—
he that plays at this present hour the unparalleled part of a chief justice presiding at
his own trial and deciding in his own case—Dr. Child, we say, turning back on the
spirit-daughter of his own creation, and backing the mortal, illegitimate offspring
furnished by somebody, is left unmolested! Only fancy, while R. D. Owen is fairly
crushed under the ridicule of the exposure, Dr. Child, who has endorsed false spirits,
now turns state’s evidence and endorses as fervently spirit-certificates, swearing to
the same in a Court of Justice!
If ever I may hope to get a chance of having my advice accepted by some one
anxious to clear up all this sickening story, I would insist that the whole matter be
forced into a real Court of Justice and unriddled before a jury. If Dr. Child is, after all,
an honest man whose trusting nature was imposed upon, he must be the first to offer
us all the chances that lay in his power of getting at the bottom of all these endless
“whys” and “hows.” “ If he does not, in such a case, we will try for ourselves to solve
the following mysteries:
First. Judge Allen, of Vineland, now in Philadelphia, testifies to the fact that
when the cabinet, made up under the direct supervision and instructions of Dr. Child,
was brought home to the Holmeses, the doctor worked at it himself unaided, one
whole day, and with his own tools, Judge Allen being at the time at the medium’s,
whom he was visiting. If there was a trapdoor or “two cut boards” connected with it,
who did the work?
Page 70
Who can doubt that such a clever machinery, filed in a way and so as to baffle
frequent and close examinations on the part of the sceptics, requires an experienced
mechanic, of more than ordinary ability? Further, unless well paid, he could hardly be
bound to secrecy Who paid him? Is it Holmes out of his ten-dollar nightly fee? We
ought to ascertain it.
Second. If it is true — as two persons are ready to swear — that the party,
calling herself Eliza White, alias “Frank,” alias Katie King, and so forth, is no widow
at all, having a well-materialized husband, who is living, and who keeps a drinking
saloon in a Connecticut town; for in such case the fair widow has perjured herself and
Dr. Child has endorsed the perjury. We regret that he should endorse the statements of
the former as rashly as he accepted the fact of her materialization.
Third. Affidavits and witnesses (five in all) are ready to prove that on a certain
night, when Mrs. White was visibly in her living body, refreshing her penitent
stomach in company with impenitent associates in a lager beer saloon, having no
claims to patrician “patronage,” Katie King, in her spirit-form, was as visibly seen at
the door of her cabinet.
Fourth. On one occasion, when Dr. Child ( in consequence of some prophetic
vision, maybe) invited Mrs. White to his own house, where he locked her up with the
inmates, who entertained her the whole of the evening, for the sole purpose of
convincing (he always seems anxious to convince somebody of something) some
doubting skeptics of the reality of the spirit-form, the latter appeared in the séanceroom
and talked with R. D. Owen in the presence of all the company. The
Spiritualists were jubilant that night, and the Doctor the most triumphant of them all.
Many are the witnesses ready to testify to the fact, but Dr. Child, when questioned,
seems to have entirely forgotten this important occurrence.
Fifth. Who is the party whom she claims to have engaged to personate General
Rawlins? Let him come out and swear to it, so that we will all see his great
resemblance to the defunct warrior.
Page 71
Sixth. Let her name the friends from whom she borrowed the costumes to
personate “Sauntee” and “Richard.” They must prove it under oath. Let them produce
the dresses. Can she tell us where she got the shining robes of the second and third
Seventh. Only some portions of Holmes’ letters to “Frank” are published in the
biography: some of them for the purpose of proving their co-partnership in the fraud
at Blissfield. Can she name the house and parties with whom she lodged and boarded
at Blissfield, Michigan?
When all of the above questions are answered and demonstrated to our
satisfaction, then, and only then, shall we believe that the Holmeses are the only
guilty parties to a fraud, which, for its consummate rascality and brazenness, is
unprecedented in the annals of Spiritualism.
I have read some of Mr. Holmes’ letters, whether original or forged, no matter;
and blessed as I am with good memory, I well remember certain sentences that have
been, very luckily for the poetic creature, suppressed by the blushing editor as being
too vile for publication. One of the most modest of the paragraphs runs thus:
“Now, my advice to you, Frank, don’t crook your elbow too often; no use
doubling up and squaring your fists again,” etc., etc. Oh, Katie King!
Remember, the above is addressed to the woman who pretends to have
personated the spirit of whom R. D. Owen wrote thus: “I particularly noticed this
evening the ease and harmony of her motions. In Naples, during five years, I
frequented a circle famed for courtly demeanour; but never in the best-bred lady of
rank accosting her visitors, have I seen Katie out-rivalled.” And further: “A wellknown
artist of Philadelphia, after examining Katie, said to me that he had seldom
seen features exhibiting more classic beauty. ‘Her movements and bearing,’ he added,
‘are the very ideal of grace!’“
Page 72
Compare for one moment this admiring description withthe quotation from
Holmes’ letter. Fancy an ideal of classic beauty and grace crooking her elbow in a
lager beer saloon, and—judge for yourselves!
1111 Girard Street, Philadelphia.
[In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. I, p. 21, there is pasted a short printed
announcement concerning the visit of Col. H. S. Olcott to Boston. H.P.B. added to it
in her handwriting, the date of January 20, 1875.
To the sentence which states that “Dr. Gardiner announced that Col. Olcott’s
subjects next Sunday would be ‘Human and Elementary Spirits’ in the afternoon, and
in the evening ‘Ancient Magic and Modern Spiritualism.’” H.P.B. added in pen and
ink the following remarks:]
The “Spirits” wrote anonymous letters to Dr. Gardiner and threatened to kill—
Col. Olcott if he lectured against them. They did not kill him though, — guess didn’t
know how, the sweet “angels”! . . .
[In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. I, between pages 20 and 21, may be found the
manuscript of the following “Important Note” in H.P.B.’s own handwriting. It is
undated, but its last paragraph places it as being prior to the formation of The
Theosophical Society. The accompanying illustration reproduces this “Note” just as it
appears on two small separate sheets of paper in H.P.B.’s Scrapbook.
Her words show better than anything else the pathos of her situation, and the
complex psychological and spiritual difficulties she was working under even at that
early period in the history of the Movement. On what specific purpose she was sent
to America is stated here beyond any doubt.]
Page 73
Yes. I am sorry to say that I had to identify myself during, that shameful
exposure of the mediums Holmes with the Spiritualists. I had to save the situation, for
I was sent from Paris on purpose to America to prove the phenomena and their reality
and—show the fallacy of the Spiritualistic theories of “Spirits.” But how could I do it
best? I did not want people at large to know that I could produce the same thing at
will. I had received ORDERS to the contrary, and yet, I had to keep alive the reality,
the genuineness and possibility of such phenomena in the hearts of those who from
Materialists had turned Spiritualists and now, owing to the exposure of several
mediums fell back again, returned to their skepticism. This is why, selecting a few of
the faithful, I went to the Holmeses and helped by M . . . and his power, brought out
the face of John King and Katie King in the astral light, produced the phenomena of
materialization and—allowed the Spiritualists at large to believe it was done thro’ the
mediumship of Mrs. Holmes. She was terribly frightened herself, for she knew that
this once the apparition was real. Did I do wrong? The world is not prepared yet to
understand the philosophy of Occult Sciences—let them assure themselves first of all
that there are beings in an invisible world, whether “Spirits” of the dead or
Elementals; and that there are hidden powers in man, which are capable of making a
God of him on earth.
When I am dead and gone people will, perhaps, appreciate my disinterested
motives. I have pledged my word to help people on to Truth while living and—will
keep my word. Let them abuse and revile me. Let some call me a MEDIUM and a
Spiritualist, and others an impostor. The day will come when posterity will learn to
know me better.
Oh poor, foolish, credulous, wicked world!
M . . . brings orders to form a Society — a secret Society like the Rosicrucian
Lodge. He promises to help.
Page 75
[Spiritual Scientist, Boston, Vol. II, April, 1875, pp. 44-5]
In the last Religio-Philosophical Journal (for February 27th), in the Philadelphia
department, edited by Dr. Child, under the most poetical heading of “After the Storm
comes the Sunshine,” we read the following:
“I have been waiting patiently for the excitement in reference to the Holmes
fraud to subside a little. I will now make some further statements and answer some
“The stories of my acquaintance with Mrs. White are all fabrications.”
Further still:
“I shall not notice the various reports put forth about my pecuniary relations,
farther than to say, there is a balance due to me for money loaned to the Holmeses.”
I claim the right to answer the above three quotations, the more so, that the
second one consigns me most unceremoniously to the ranks of the liars. Now, if there
is, in my humble judgment, anything more contemptible than a cheat, it is certainly a
liar. The rest of this letter—editorial—or whatever it may be, is unanswerable, for
reasons that will be easily understood by whoever reads it. When the petulant Mr.
Pancks [in Little Dorrit] spanked the benevolent Christopher Casby, this venerable
patriarch only mildly lifted up his blue eyes heavenward, and smiled more benignly
than ever. Dr. Child, tossed about and as badly spanked by public opinion, smiles as
sweetly as Mr. Casby, talks of “sunshine,” and quiets his urgent accusers by assuring
them that “it is all fabrications.”
* [In her Scrapbook, Vol. I, p. 23, H.P.B. appended a footnote to the cutting of this article, stating:]
Ordered to expose Dr. Child. I did so. The D’ is a hypocrite, a liar & a fraud.
Page 76
I don’t know whence Dr. Child takes his “sunshine” unless he draws it from the
very bottom of his innocent heart.
For my part, since I came to Philadelphia, I have seen little but slush and dirt,
slush in the streets, and dirt in this exasperating Katie King mystery.
I would strongly advise Dr. Child not to accuse me of “fabrication,” whatever
else he may be inclined to ornament me with. What I say I can prove, and am ever
willing to do so at any day. If he is innocent of all participation in this criminal fraud,
let him “rise and explain.” If he succeeds in clearing his record, I will be the first to
rejoice and promise to offer him publicly my most sincere apology, for the “erroneous
suspicions” I labor under respecting his part in the affair; but he must first prove that
he is thoroughly innocent. Hard words prove nothing and he cannot hope to achieve
such a victory by simply accusing people of “fabrications.” If he does not abstain
[from] applying epithets unsupported by substantial proofs, he risks, as in the game of
shuttlecock and battledore, the chance of receiving the missile back, and maybe that it
will hurt him worse than he expects.
In the article in question he says:
“The stories of my acquaintance with Mrs. White are all fabrications. I did let
her in two or three times, but the entry and hall were so dark that it was impossible to
recognize her or anyone. I have seen her several times and knew that she looked more
like Katie King than Mr. (?) or Mrs. Holmes . . .”
Mirabile dictu! This beats our learned friend, Dr. Beard! The latter denies, pointblank,
not only “materialization,” which is not yet actually proved to the world, but
also every spiritual phenomenon. But Dr. Child denies being acquainted with a
woman, whom he confesses himself to have seen “several times,” received in his
office, where she was seen repeatedly by others, and yet at the same time admits that
he “knew she looked like Katie King,” etc.
Page 77
By the way, we have all laboured under the impression that Dr. Child admitted in The
Inquirer that he saw Mrs. White for the first time, and recognized her as Katie King,
only on that morning when she made her affidavit at the office of the justice of [the]
peace. A “fabrication” most likely. In the R.-P. Journal for October 27th, 1874, Dr.
Child wrote thus:
“Your report does not for a moment shake my confidence in our Katie King, as
she comes to me every day and talks to me. On several occasions Katie had come to
me and requested Mr. Owen and myself to go there (meaning to the Holmes) and she
would come and tell us just what she had told me alone.”
Did Dr. Child ascertain where Mrs. White was at the time of the spirits’ visits to
“As to Mrs. White, I know her well. I have on many occasions let her into the
house. I saw her here at the time the manifestations were going on in Blissfield. She
has since gone to Massachusetts.”
And still the Doctor assures us he was not acquainted with Mrs. White. What
signification does he give to the word “acquaintance” in such a case? Did he not go in
the absence of the Holmeses to their house and talk with her and even quarrel with
the woman? Another fabricated story, no doubt. I defy Dr. Child to print again, if he
dare, such a word as fabrication in relation to myself, after he has read a
certainstatement that I reserve for the last.
In all this pitiful, humbugging romance of an “exposure” by a too material shespirit,
there has not been given us a single reasonable explanation of even so much as
one solitary fact. It began with a bogus biography, and threatens to end in a bogus
fight, since every single duel requires, at least, two participants, and Dr. Child prefers
extracting sunshine from the cucumbers of his soul and letting the storm subside, to
fighting like a man for his own fair name. He says that “he shall not notice” what
people say about his little speculative transactions with the Holmeses. He assures us
that they owe him money. Very likely, but it does not alter the alleged fact of his
having paid $10 for every séance and pocketing the balance. Dare he say that he did
not do it? The Holmeses say otherwise; and the statements in writing of various
witnesses corroborate them.
Page 78
The Holmeses may be scamps in the eyes of certain persons, and the only ones
in the eyes of the more prejudiced; but as long as their statements have not been
proven false, their word is as good as the word of Dr. Child; aye, in a court of justice
even, the “Mediums Holmes” would stand just on the same level as any spiritual
prophet or clairvoyant who might have been visited by any same identical spirits that
visited the former. So long as Dr. Child does not legally prove them to be cheats and
himself innocent, why should not they be as well entitled to belief as himself?
From the first hour of the Katie King mystery, if people have accused them, no
one so far as I know—not even Dr. Child himself—has proved, or even undertaken to
prove the innocence of their ex-cashier and recorder. The fact that every word of the
ex-leader and president of the Philadelphian Spiritualists would be published by
every spiritual paper (and here we must confess to our wonder, that he does not
hasten much to avail himself of this opportunity) while any statement coming from
the Holmeses would be pretty sure of rejection, would not necessarily imply the fact
that they alone are guilty; it would only go towards showing, that notwithstanding the
divine truth of our faith and the teachings of our invisible guardians, some
Spiritualists have not profited by them, to learn impartiality and justice.
These “mediums” are persecuted; so far, it is but justice, since they themselves
admitted their guilt about the photography fraud, and unless it can be shown that they
were thereunto controlled by lying spirits, their own mouths condemn them; but what
is less just, is, that they are slandered and abused on all points and made to bear
alone, all the weight of a crime, where confederacy peeps out from every page of the
story. No one seems willing to befriend them—these two helpless uninfluential
creatures, who, if they sinned at all, perhaps sinned through weakness and ignorance
—to take their case in hand and by doing justice to them, do justice at the same time
to the cause of truth. If their guilt should be as evident as the daylight at noon.
Page 79
Is it not ridiculous that their partner Dr. Child should show surprise at being so
much as suspected! History records but one person, the legitimate spouse of the great
Caesar—whose name has to remain enforced by law [as] above suspicion; methinks,
that if Dr. Child possesses some natural claims to his self-assumed title of Katie
King’s “Father Confessor,” he can have none whatever to share the infallibility of
Madame Caesar’s virtue. Being pretty sure as to this myself, and feeling, moreover,
somewhat anxious to swell the list of pertinent questions, which are called by our
disingenuous friend “fabrications,” with at least ONE FACT, I will now proceed to
furnish your readers with the following:
“Katie’s” picture has been, let us say, proved a fraud, an imposition on the
credulous world, and is Mrs. White’s portrait. This counterfeit has been proved by the
beauty of the “crooking elbow,” in her bogus autobiography (the proof sheets of
which Dr. Child was seen correcting) by the written confession of the Holmeses and
—lastly by Dr. Child himself.
Out of the several bogus portraits of the supposed spirit, the most spurious one,
has been declared—mostly on the testimony endorsed by Dr. Child and “over his
signature”—to be the one where the pernicious and false Katie King is standing
behind her medium.
The operation of this delicate piece of imposture, proved so difficult as to oblige
the Holmeses to take into the secret of the conspiracy the photographer.
Now Dr. Child denies having anything whatever to do with the sittings for those
pictures. He denies it most emphatically, and goes so far as to say (we have many
witnesses and proofs to that), that he was out of town, four hundred miles away, when
the said pictures were taken. And so he was, bless his dear prophetic soul! Meditating
and chatting with the nymphs and goblins of Niagara Falls, so that, when he pleads an
alibi, it’s no “fabrication” but the truth for once.
Unfortunately for the veracious Dr. Child, “whose character and reputation for
truthfulness and moral integrity no one doubts.”
Page 80
(Here we quote the words of “Honesty” and “Truth,” transparent pseudonyms of
an “amateur” for detecting, exposing and writing under the cover of secrecy, who
tried to give a friendly push to the doctor in two articles—but failed in both.)—
Unfortunately for H. T. Child, we say, he got inspired in some evil hour to write
a certain article, and forgetting the wise motto, Verba volant, scripta manent, to
publish it in The Daily Graphic on the 16th of November last, together with the
portraits of John and Katie King.
Now for this bouquet of the endorsement of a fact by a truthful man, “whose
moral integrity no one can doubt.”
To the Editor of The Daily Graphic.
On the evening of July 20th, after a large and successful séance, in which Katie
had walked out into the room in the presence of thirty persons and had disappeared
and reappeared in full view, she remarked to Mr. Leslie and myself that if we, with
four others whom she named, would remain after the séance, she would like to try for
her photograph. We did so, and there were present six persons besides the
photographer. I had procured two dozen magnesium spirals and when all was ready,
she opened the door of the cabinet and stood in it, while Mr. Holmes on one side, and
I upon the other, burned these, making a brilliant light. We tried two plates, but
neither of them were satisfactory.
Another effort was made on the 23rd of July, which was successful. We asked
her if she would try to have it taken by daylight. She said she would. We sat with
shutters open at four o’clock p.m. In a few moments, Katie appeared at the aperture
and said she was ready. She asked to have one of the windows closed, and that we
should hold a shawl to screen her. As soon as the camera was ready she came out and
walked behind the shawl to the middle of the room, a distance of six or eight feet,
where she stood in front of the camera. She remained in that position until the first
picture was taken, when she retired to the cabinet.
Mr. Holmes proposed that she should permit him to sit in front of the camera,
and should come out and place her hand upon his shoulder. To this she assented and
desired all present to avoid looking into her eyes, as this disturbed the conditions very
much. . . .
The second picture was then taken in which she stands behind Mr. Holmes.
When the camera was closed, she showed great signs of weakness, and it was
necessary to assist her back to the cabinet, and when she got to the door she appeared
ready to sink to the floor and disappeared (?). The cabinet door was opened, but she
was not to be seen.
Pasted by H.P.B. in her Scrapbook, Vol. I, pp. 20-21.
(See page 73 of the present volume for transcription.)
Photograph by Beardsley, Ithaca N.Y.
Page 81
In a few minutes she appeared again, and remarked that she had not been
sufficiently materialized and said she would like to try again, if we could wait a little
while. We waited about fifteen minutes, when she rapped on the cabinet, signifying
that she was ready to come out. She did so, and we obtained the third negative.
(Signed) Dr. H. T. Child.
And so, Dr. Child, we have obtained this, we did that, and we did many other
things. Did you? Now, besides Dr. Child’s truthful assertions about his being out of
town, especially at the time this third negative was obtained, we have the testimony
of the photographer, Dr. Selger, and other witnesses to corroborate the fact. At the
same time, I suppose that Dr. Child will not risk a denial of his own article. I have it
in my possession and keep it, together with many others as curious, printed like it,
and written in black and white. Who fabricates stories? Can the doctor answer?
How will he creep out of this dilemma? What rays of his spiritual “sunshine”
will be able to dematerialize such a contradictory fact as this one? Here we have an
article taking up two spacious columns of The Daily Graphic, in which he asserts as
plainly as possible, that he was present himself at the sittings of Katie King for her
portrait; that the spirit came out boldly, in full daylight, that she disappeared on the
threshold of the cabinet, and that he, Dr. Child, helping her back to it on account of
her great weakness, saw that there was no one in the said cabinet, for the door
remained opened. Who did he help? Whose fluttering heart beat against his paternal
arm and waistcoat? Was it the bonny Eliza? Of course, backed by such reliable
testimony, of such a truly trustworthy witness, the pictures sold like wildfire. Who got
the proceeds? Who kept them? If Dr. Child was not in town when the pictures were
taken, then this article is an “evident fabrication.” On the other hand, if what he says
in it is truth, and he was present at all, at the attempt of this bogus picture taking, then
he certainly must have known “who was who, in 1874,” as the photographer knew it,
and as surely it did not require Argus-eyes to recognize in full daylight, with only one
shutter partially closed, a materialized, ethereal spirit, from a common, “elbowcrooking”
mortal woman, whom, though not acquainted with her, the doctor still
“knew her well.”
Page 82
If our self-constituted leaders, our prominent recorders of the phenomena, will
humbug and delude the public with such reliable statements as this one, how can we
Spiritualists wonder at the masses of incredulous scoffers that keep on politely taking
us for “lunatics” when they do not very rudely call us “liars and charlatans” to our
faces? It is not the occasionally cheating “mediums” that have impeded or can
impede the progress of our cause; it’s the exalted exaggerations of some fanatics on
one hand and the deliberate, unscrupulous statements of those, who delight [in]
dealing in “wholesale fabrications” and “pious frauds” that have arrested the
unusually rapid spreading of Spiritualism in 1874, and brought it to a dead stop in
1875. For how many years to come yet, who can tell?
In his “After the Storm the Sunshine,” the Doctor makes the following
melancholy reflection:
“It has been suggested that going into an atmosphere of fraud, such as surrounds
these mediums (the Holmeses) and being sensitive [O, poor Yorick!] I was more
liable to be deceived than others.”
We shudder indeed at the thought of the exposure of so much sensitiveness to so
much pollution! Alas, soiled dove! How very sensitive must a person be who picks up
such evil influences that they actually force him into the grossest of fabrications, and
which make him invent stories and endorse facts that he has not and could not have
seen. If Dr. Child, victim to his too sensitive nature, is liable to fall so easily as that
under the control of wicked “Diakka” our friendly advice to him is, to give up
Spiritualism as soon as possible, and join the Young Men’s Christian Association; for
then, under the protecting wing of the true Orthodox Church, he can begin a regular
fight, like a second St. Anthony, with the Orthodox Devil. Such Diakka, as he fell in
with at the Holmeses, must beat Old Nick by long odds, and if he could not withstand
them by the unaided strength of his own pure soul, he may with “bell, book and
candle,” and the use of holy water, be more fortunate in a tug with Satan; crying as
other “Father Confessors” have heretofore, “Exorciso vos in nomine Lucis!” and
signifying his triumph, with a robust “Laus Deo!”
Philadelphia, March, 1875.*
* [In her Scrapbook, Vol. I, p. 23, H.P.B. made a notation on top of the page indicating that this
article was written March 16, 1875. —Compiler.]
Page 83
[When H.P.B. lived for a time in Brooklyn, N. Y. with the French people who
came to the United States when she did, she was induced to invest in two parcels of
land at the East end of Long Island. One of these tracts was in the North part of
Huntington, and the other in the neighborhood of the village of Northport, near
Huntington, both in the Suffolk County.
From the existing Court Records, it appears that this land had been purchased by
a certain Clementine Gerebko, the deed of conveyance being dated June 2nd, 1873, in
other words prior to H.P.B.’s arrival in the United States, July 7, 1873.
On June 15/27, 1873, H.P.B.’s father, Col. Peter Alexeyevich von Hahn, died at
Stavropol’ in the Caucasus, and sometime in the Fall of the same year H.P.B. received
a sum of money as part of her inheritance. It is apparently that sum of money that
H.P.B. was induced to invest in the above-mentioned land. On June 22nd, 1874, she
entered into co-partnership with Clementine Gerebko for the purpose of working the
land and farm at Northport. The co-partnership was to commence on July 1, 1874,
and continue for the period of three years. Clause 3 of the Articles states that
Clementine Gerebko put the use of the farm into the co-partnership as off-set against
the sum of one thousand dollars paid by H.P.B., and Clause 4 states that “all proceeds
for crops, poultry, produce, and other products raised on the said farm shall be
divided equally, and all expenses” equally shared. The title of the land was reserved
to Clementine Gerebko.†
H.P.B. went to live on the farm, but very soon found herself in litigation with
Clementine Gerebko as to the validity of the agreement of the defendant to execute a
mortgage to the plaintiff, and returned to New York.
† Cf. H. S. Olcott, Old Diary Leaves, Vol. I, pp. 30-31.
Page 84
The law firm of Bergen, Jacobs and Ivins of Brooklyn, N.Y. represented H.P.B.
Her case was tried by a jury on Monday, April 26, 1875, before Judge Calvin E. Pratt,
in the Supreme Court of Suffolk County, at Riverhead. She won the suit and
recovered the sum of $1146 and costs of the action. The Judgment, dated June 1,
1875, was filed on June 15 in the Office of the Clerk of Suffolk County, N.Y.
From the recollections of William M. Ivins, Attorney at Law, who became a very
good friend of H.P.B.’s, we learn some of the circumstances of this curious trial. He
“Long Island in those days was a long ways from Brooklyn, for travelling
facilities were limited. The calendar of this particular term was very slow, and all the
parties were kept there waiting their turn to be heard. As many of the documents and
witnesses were French, and there was no interpreter to the court” William S. Fales, a
student in the law firm of General Benjamin Tracy, was made special interpreter, and
he reported H.P.B.’s testimony which was given in French. For two weeks the Judge,
the lawyers, clerks, clients and interpreter were guests in a dull country hotel. . . .”*
Ivins, in addition to being a brilliant lawyer, was a bookworm with a
phenomenal memory. More as a joke than in earnest, he deluged his client with
Occultism, Gnosticism, Cabalism and white and black magic. Fales, taking his key
from Ivins, gave long dissertations on mystical arithmetic, astrology, alchemy,
mediaeval symbolism, Neo-Platonism, Rosicrucianism and quaternions. It is a great
pity that none of this was apparently recorded, and therefore cannot be recovered
from the Court Records.
Another sidelight on this interesting episode may be derived from a passage in a
work of Charles R. Flint entitled Memories of an Active Life. He writes:
“The circumstances of the trial were interesting, for Madame, who was her own
principal witness, testified quite contrary to the way in which her attorneys assumed
she would testify. Ivins had associated with him in the trial Fales, who was then a law
student. As cautious lawyers, they had gone over the testimony with Madame before
the trial, and had advised her as to what points she should emphasize; but, to their
great discomfiture, on the witness stand she took the bit in her teeth and galloped
along lines of evidence quite opposed to their instructions, giving as a reason, when
they complained of her testimony, that her ‘familiar,’ whom she called Tom [John]
King, stood at her side (invisible to everyone but her), and prompted her in her
* Recorded by Mrs. Laura Holloway-Langford in a handwritten manuscript now unfortunately
Page 85
After the court had taken the matter under advisement, Madame left the city, but
wrote several letters to Ivins asking him as to the progress of the suit, and finally
astonished him by a letter giving an outline of an opinion which she said the court
would render in the course of a few days, in connection with a decision in her favor.
In accordance with her prediction, the court handed down a decision sustaining her
claim upon grounds similar to those which she had outlined in her letter.”*
* Charles R. Flint, Memories of an Active Life. New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1923.
xviii, pp. 349. This excerpt is from Chapter IX entitled “A Society for Testing Human Credulity,”
pp. 115-32.
[In the issue of April 29, 1875, there was published in the Spiritual Scientist a
Circular entitled “Important to Spiritualists” facsimile of which is reproduced
herewith. In an Editorial which appears in the same issue, E. Gerry Brown, writing
under the heading “A Message from Luxor,” had the following to say:
“The readers of the Scientist will be no more surprised to read the circular which
appears on our front page than we were to receive the same by post . . . . . Who may
be our unknown friends of the ‘Committee of Seven,’ we do not know, nor who the
‘Brotherhood of Luxor’; but we do know that we are most thankful for this proof of
their interest, and shall try to deserve its continuance. Can anyone tell us of such a
fraternity as the above? And what Luxor is meant? . . . It is time that some ‘Power,’
terrestrial or supernal, came to our aid, for after twenty-seven years of spiritual
manifestations, we know nothing about the laws of their occurrence . . . . We cannot
help regarding this as an evil of magnitude, and if we could only be satisfied that the
appearance of this mysterious circular is an indication that the Eastern Spiritualistic
Fraternity is about to lift the veil that has so long hid the Temple from our view, we in
common with all other friends of the cause, would hail the event with joy. It will he a
blessed day for us when the order shall be, SIT LUX.”
Page 86
THE spiritual movement resembles every other in this respect: that its growth is
the work of time, and its refinement and solidification the result of causes working
from within outward. The twenty-seven years which have elapsed since the rappings
were first heard in Western New York, have not merely created a vast body of
spiritualists, but moreover stimulated a large and constantly increasing number of
superior minds into a desire and ability to grasp the laws which lie back of the
phenomena themselves.
UNTIL the present time these advanced thinkers have had no special organ for
the Interchange of opinions. The leading spiritual papers are of necessity compelled
to devote most of their space to communication of a trivial and purely personal
character, which are interesting only to the friends of the spirits sending them, and to
such as are just beginning to give attention to the subject. In England the London
Spiritualist, and in France the Revue Spirite, present to us examples of the kind of
paper that should have been established in this country long ago—papers which
devote more space to the discussion of principles, the teaching of philosophy, and the
display of conservative critical ability, than to the mere publication of the thousand
and one minor occurrences of private and public circles.
IT is the standing reproach of American Spiritualism that it teaches so few things
worthy of a thoughtful man’s attention; that so few of its phenomena occur under
conditions satisfactory to men of scientific training; that the propagation of its
doctrines is in the hands of so many ignorant, if not positively vicious, persons; and
that it offers, in exchange for the orderly arrangements of prevailing religious creeds,
nothing but an undigested system of present and future moral and social relations and
THE best thoughts of our best minds have heretofore been confined to volumes
whose price has, is most instances, placed them beyond the reach of the masses, who
most needed to be familiar with them. To remedy this evil, to bring our authors into
familiar intercourse with the great body of spiritualists, to create an organ upon which
we may safely count to lead us in our fight with old superstitions and mouldy creeds,
a few earnest spiritualists have now united.
INSTEAD of undertaking the doubtful and costly experiment of starting a new
paper, they have selected the Spiritual Scientist, of Boston, as the organ of this new
movement. Its intelligent management up to the present time, by Mr. GERRY
BROWN, and the commendable tone that he has given to its columns, make
comparatively easy the task of securing the co-operation of the writers whose names
will be a guarantee of its brilliant success.
Page 87
Although the object has been agitated only about three weeks, the Committee
have already received promises from several of our best known authors to write for
the paper, and upon the strength of those assurances many subscriptions have been
sent in from different cities. The movement is not intended to undermine or destroy
any of the existing spiritualistic journals: there is room for all, and patronage for all.
THE price of the Spiritual Scientist is $2.50 per annum, postage included. A
person sending five yearly subscription, is entitled to a copy for himself without extra
charge. Subscriptions may be made through any respectable agency, or by direct
communication with the editor, E. GERRY BROWN, No. 18 Exchange Street,
Boston, Mass.
For the Committee of Seven,
Writing about this Circular in his Old Diary Leaves, Vol. 1, pp. 74-76, Col.
Olcott says:
“I wrote every word of this circular myself, alone corrected the printer’s proofs,
and paid for the printing. That is to say, nobody dictated a word that I should say, nor
interpolated any words or sentences, nor controlled my action in any visible way. I
wrote it to carry out the expressed wishes of the Masters that we — H.P.B. and I —
should help the Editor of the [Spiritual] Scientist at what was to him, a difficult crisis,
and used my best judgment as to the language most suitable for the purpose. When
the circular was in type at the printer’s and I had corrected the proofs, and changed
the arrangement of the matter into its final paragraphs, I enquired of H.P.B. (by letter)
if she thought I had better issue it anonymously or append my name. She replied that
it was the wish of the Masters that it should be signed thus: ‘For the Committee of
Seven, BROTHERHOOD OF LUXOR.’ And so it was signed and published. She
subsequently explained that our work, and much more of the same kind, was being
supervised by a Committee of seven Adepts belonging to the Egyptian group of the
Universal Mystic Brotherhood. Up to this time she had not even seen the circular, but
now I took one to her myself and she began to read it attentively. Presently she
laughed, and told me to read the acrostic made by the initials of the six paragraphs.
Page 88
To my amazement, I found that they spelt the name under which I knew the
(Egyptian) adept under whose orders I was then studying and working.* Later, I
received a certificate, written in gold ink, on a thick green paper, to the effect that I
was attached to this ‘Observatory,’ and that three (named) Masters had me under
scrutiny. This title, Brotherhood of Luxor, was pilfered by the schemers who started,
several years later, the gudgeon-trap called ‘The H. B. of L.’ The existence of the real
lodge is mentioned in Kenneth Mackenzie’s Royal Masonic Cyclopaedia (p. 461).
“Nothing in my early occult experience during this H.P.B. epoch, made a deeper
impression on my mind than the above acrostic . . .”
When H.P.B. pasted a copy of this Circular in her Scrapbook, Vol. I, p. 29
(originally 23), she wrote above the title:]
Sent to E. Gerry Brown by the order of S*** and T*** B*** — of Lukshoor.
(Published and Issued by Col. Olcott by order of M . . .)
* [Tuitit, or Tuitit Bey. See Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom. Second Series. Letter No. 3.—
The organization of Col. Olcott’s ‘Miracle Club’ is progressing satisfactorily.
Applications are daily received from those wishing to join, but few selections have
been positively made; as it is desired that the Club should be composed of men of
such standing, and scientific, and other attainments, as shall afford to the public a
perfect guarantee of the trustworthiness of any conclusions they may reach.
The medium who is to sit with the investigators, being actively interested in certain
business operations, has been temporarily called from New York. Meanwhile in
anticipation of the commencement of his report of the séances of the Miracle Club,
Col. Olcott authorises the announcement that he will contribute to the Scientist some
of the results of his winter’s reading, in the form of a series of articles entitled “What
the Ancients knew, and what the Moderns think they know.” This popular author in
addition to what he gleaned in his researches among the splendid collections of the
“Watkinson Library of Reference,” in Hartford, has recently had access to some
ancient manuscripts, furnished him by “one who knows when and how,” as the phrase
goes; and our readers may count upon
Page 89
both entertainment and instruction in the papers which will appear in this Journal.
We shall also begin at once the publication of a most important paper
contributed by N. Wagner, Professor of Zoology in the University of St. Petersburg,
and the Huxley of Russia; it gives the results of recent séances held with a French
medium, named Brédif, by Prof. Wagner and two other professors of equal eminence.
The document, which will appear in three successive chapters, has been translated
from the Russian language for this paper by Madame Blavatsky, the accomplished
lady, to whose trenchant pen several American journals are indebted for recent
contributions which have elicited the highest praise for the elegance of their style and
the vigour of their argument.
At the end of this cutting, H.P.B. wrote the following in pen and ink:]
An attempt in consequence of orders received from T*** B*** through P***
personating J.K. [symbol]. Ordered to begin telling the public the truth about the
phenomena & their mediums.
Page 90
And now my martyrdom will begin! I will have all the Spiritualists against me in
addition to the Christians & the Skeptics! Thy Will, oh M . . . be done!
In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. I, p. 36, may be found another cutting from the
Spiritual Scientist of May 27, 1875, the text of which is as follows:
“It is rumoured that one or more Oriental Spiritualists of high rank have just
arrived in this country. They are said to possess a profound knowledge of the
mysteries of illumination, and it is not impossible that they will establish relations
with those whom we are accustomed to regard as the leaders in Spiritualistic affairs.
If the report be true, their coming may be regarded as a great blessing; for after a
quarter century of phenomena, we are almost without a philosophy to account for
them or control their occurrence. Welcome to the Wise Men of the East, if they have
really come to worship at the cradle of our new Truth.”
H.P.B. underlined in red pencil the word “Spiritualist,” and wrote on the margin,
lengthwise up the page, also in red pencil:]
At . . . & Ill. . . . passed thro’ New York & Boston; thence thro’ California &
Japan back. M . . . appearing in Kama-Rupa daily.
[The abbreviations most likely stand for Atrya and Illarion (or Hilarion), two of
the Adept-Brothers.]
[To this period belongs chronologically H.P.B.’s English translation of a Report
issued by Professor Nikolay Petrovich Wagner (1829-1907) of the Universities of
Moscow and St. Petersburg, concerning séances with the medium Brédif. This Report
was originally published in the Vestnik Yevropy (European Herald). H.P.B.’s
translation appeared in the Spiritual Scientist of Boston, Mass., Vol. II, June 3, 10 and
17, 1875, pp. 145-47, 157-59. and 169-71 respectively. It was entitled: “Another
Eminent Convert.—The Report of Prof. Wagner of the Imperial University of St.
Petersburg, Russia.—The Results of Recent Séances.”—Compiler.]
Page 91
[Spiritual Scientist, Boston, Vol. II, June 24, 1875, p. 183]
The following, just received, explains itself. As will be seen by the editorial
columns full particulars will be published next week.
E. GERRY BROWN, ESQ., Editor, Spiritual Scientist, Boston.
In a private letter received by me from A. N. Aksakoff, Counselor of State in the
private Chancellery of the Emperor of Russia, at St. Petersburg, and a circular
—“Appeal to Mediums”—both sent by me to the Consul-General of Russia in New
York for verification and certification, I, the undersigned, am entrusted by A. N.
Aksakoff to select several of the best American mediums for physical manifestations
and other phenomena, and invite them to St. Petersburg, with the object to have the
Spiritual Phenomena investigated by a special committee of scientists, appointed by
the Imperial University of St. Petersburg, under the presidency of the Chief Professor
of the said University, D. I. Mendeleyeff. The investigations are to take place twice a
week and during no less a period than six months.
All the expenses of the mediums who will accept the invitation are to be
defrayed by the said committee, and terms by those of the mediums, who will be
selected here and accepted as genuine, to be sent to St. Petersburg, to the President of
Committee, Professor Mendeleyeff.
Therefore, I appoint and name as my sole deputy at Boston, for the selection of
such mediums, E. Gerry Brown, Esq., Editor of the Spiritual Scientist, and beg of him
to take the necessary steps for it immediately.
Philadelphia, June 22nd, 1875.
Page 92
[Spiritual Scientist, Boston, Vol. II, July 8,1875, p. 209]
I am truly sorry that a spiritualist paper like the Religio-Philosophical Journal,
which claims to instruct and enlighten its readers, should suffer such trash as Mr.
Jesse Sheppard is contributing to its columns to appear without review. I will not
dwell upon the previous letter of this very gifted personage, although everything he
has said concerning Russia and life at St. Petersburg might be picked to pieces by any
one having merely a superficial acquaintance with the place and the people; nor will I
stop to sniff at his nosegays of high-sounding names—his Princess Bulkoffs and
Princes This and That—which are as preposterously fictitious as though, in speaking
of Americans, some Russian singing medium were to mention his friends Prince
Jones or Duke Smith, or Earl Brown—for if he chooses to manufacture noble patrons
from the oversloppings of his poetic imagination, and it amuses him or his readers, no
great harm is done. But when it comes to his saying the things he does in the letter of
July 3rd, in that paper, it puts quite a different face upon the matter. Here he pretends
to give historical facts but which never existed. He tells us of things he saw
clairvoyantly, and his story is such a tissue of ridiculous, gross anachronisms that
they not only show his utter ignorance of Russian history, but are calculated to injure
the Cause of Spiritualism by throwing doubt upon all clairvoyant descriptions.
Secondarily in importance they destroy his own reputation for veracity, stamp him as
a trickster, and a false writer, and bring the gravest suspicion upon his claim to
possess any mediumship whatever.
What faith can anyone, acquainted with the rudiments of history, have in a
medium who sees a mother (Catherine II) giving orders to strangle her son (Paul I)
when we all know that the Emperor Paul ascended the throne upon the decease of the
very mother whom the inventive genius of this musical prodigy makes guilty of
Page 93
Permit me, O! young seer, as a Spiritualist and a Russian somewhat read in the
history of my country, to refresh your memory. Spiritualism has been laughed at quite
enough recently in consequence of such pious frauds as yours, and as Russian savants
are about to investigate the subject, we may as well go to them with clean hands. The
journal which gives you its hospitality goes to my country, and its interests will
certainly suffer if you are allowed to go on with your embroidery and spangle-work
without rebuke. Remember, young poetico-historian, that the Emperor Paul was the
paternal grandfather of the present Tsar,* and every one who has been at St.
Petersburg knows that the “old palace,” which to your spiritual eye, wears such “an
appearance of dilapidation and decay, worthy of a castle of the Middle Ages,” and the
one where your Paul was strangled, is an everyday, modern-looking, respectable
building, the successor of one which was pulled down early in the reign of the late
Emperor Nicholas, and known from the beginning until now as the Pavlovsky
Military College for the “Cadets.” And the two assassins, begotten in your
clairvoyant loins—PETRESKI and KOFSKI! Really now, Mr. Sheppard, the
gentlemanly assassins ought to be very much obliged to you for these pretty aliases!
It is fortunate for you, dear Sir, that it did not occur to you to discuss these
questions in St. Petersburg, and that you evolved your history from the depths of your
own consciousness, for in our autocratical country one is not permitted to discuss the
little unpleasant verses of the Imperial family history, and the rule would not be
relaxed for a Spanish Grandee, or even that more considerable personage, an
American singing medium. An attempt on your part to do so would assuredly have
interfered with your grand concert, under imperial patronage, and might have led to
your journeying to the borders of Russia under an armed escort befitting your exalted
* [Alexander II.]
Page 94
[Spiritual Scientist, Boston, Vol. II, July 8,1875, p. 211]
In compliance with the request of the Honourable Alexander Aksakoff,
Counselor of State in the Imperial Chancellery at St. Petersburg, the undersigned
hereby gives notice that they are prepared to receive applications from physical
mediums who may be willing to go to Russia, for examination before the Committee
of the Imperial University.
To avoid disappointment, it may be well to state, that the undersigned will
recommend no mediums whose personal good character is not satisfactorily shown;
nor any who will not submit themselves to a thorough scientific test of their
mediumistic powers, in the city of New York, prior to sailing; nor any who cannot
exhibit most of their phenomena in a lighted room, to be designated by the
undersigned, and with such ordinary furniture as may be found therein.
Approved applications will be immediately forwarded to St. Petersburg, and
upon receipt of orders thereon from the Scientific Commission or its representative,
Mr. Aksakoff, proper certificates and instructions will be given to accepted
applicants, and arrangements made for defraying expenses.
Address the undersigned, in care of E. Gerry Brown, Editor of the Spiritual
Scientist, 18 Exchange Street, Boston, Mass, who is hereby authorized to receive
personal applications from mediums in the New England States.
[In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. I, p. 58, may be found at the bottom of the page the
following important note written by H.P.B. in pen and ink:]
Orders received from India direct to establish a philosophico-religious Society
and choose a name for it—also to choose Olcott. July 1875.
Page 95
[In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. I, p. 39, several cuttings are pasted consisting of
articles by Col. H. S. Olcott written for the Spiritual Scientist about July 15, 1875.
One of these, entitled “Mutterings of a Storm,” deals with the crisis of Spiritualism,
and Col. Olcott ends it with the following remarks concerning the Journal:
“Already some of the best and brightest minds among our psychologists have
come to our assistance, and no paper in the world has a more talented corps of
contributors. Already friends gather around us, send us money, exert themselves,
without our solicitation, to get subscribers, and our young enterprise stands upon
‘rock bottom’.”
Along the side of this article, H.P.B. wrote in pen and ink:]
The Editor and Medium Gerry Brown has thanked us for our help. Between Col.
Olcott & myself, H.P.B., we have spent over a 1000 dollars given him to pay his
debts & support his paper. Six months later he became our mortal enemy, because
only we declared our unbelief in Spirits. Oh grateful mankind . .
[Mention has already been made of the names of William M. Ivins and William
S. Fales, two attorneys at law who represented H.P.B. in her court-case at Riverhead,
Long Island, N. Y. As these two individuals, together with several of their friends,
played an important part in H.P.B.’s literary activity at its very inception, the
following excerpt from the work of Charles R. Flint, Memories of an Active Life,
from which we already had occasion to quote, will be of interest to the reader. Mr.
Flint writes:
Page 96
“For several years I was a member of the Philologian Debating Society of the
Brooklyn Polytechnic, and out of this organization grew what was probably the most
extraordinary secret body the world has ever known. Among the members of the
Philologian were Dr. Henry Van Dyke, the famous author; Charles F. Chichester, who
became Treasurer of the Century Company; Frederick W. Hinrichs, the political
reformer; and William E. S. Fales, who was regarded by everyone as a man of genius.
“None of his friends can ever forget Fales, the many-sided, with his massive
head and his blond curls, his high, broad forehead and square jaw, deep chest and
steel muscles. Six feet of splendid physical manhood, he loved to display his powers
and often exhibited his mountainous biceps. But though he might have excelled as an
athlete, his herculean strength was more than equalled by his wonderful mental
equipment. Books had been his friends from childhood, and he loved to ‘ponder over
many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore.’ Research, a natural flow of
language, a brilliant fancy, and a glowing imagination, led him naturally to literary
“Like champagne, he was often effervescent, sparkling, and overflowing. Much
that he emitted was like froth, but much, too, was substantial and weighty. He even
had his periods of gloom. He would deliver a talk on the history of Satan, and follow
it with a paper on the origin of obscene words. This, in turn, would be succeeded by a
lugubrious poem on death, or on the final ‘wreck of matter and the crash of worlds.’
While in addition to exercising his skill in the realm of the imagination, he was
addicted to mathematics and scientific research.
“But despite his gifts, Fales lacked purpose and the will for sustained effort. He
was conscious that he could surpass most men if he cared to exert himself. This
circumstance, as in the case of the hare and the tortoise, frequently caused his failure,
a duller competitor securing the victory.
“He often said that life was a joke and he generally appeared to make this
epigram the maxim of his career. Thus, while he was recognized by his fellows in the
Columbia School of Mines, as the most brilliant mathematician that school had ever
had, and as a student who in less time than any other could accomplish a given task,
after leading his class in the first year he fell to the middle in the second year, and
failed of graduation in the third. An enraged father sent him to Brazil to follow a
business career. Tiring of that after a year’s absence, he returned to New York and to
Columbia, where he passed his examinations and received his degree after a very
brief period of study.
(The two upper photographs are from Charles R. Flint’s Memories of an Active Life, New York and London, 1923. The
portrait of W. M. Ivins is from The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. XXX. Consult pp. 95-100, and
the Bio-Bibliographical Index for biographical data.)
Page 97
From the School of Mines he went to the School of Law. Indeed, there is little that he
did not attempt.
“For a while he taught 8 class of small boys at a Sunday School, and he filled
their pockets with—cigars. He challenged a missionary to compete with him in a
petition to Heaven. He lacked reverence, absolutely.
“He was a great debater; but quite conscienceless, for he would volunteer on
either side of a controversy, whatever his opinion as to the real merits of the question.
There seemed to be no subject upon which he was unprepared to speak interestingly
and with effect.
“It seemed to his associates in the Milton Literary Association that there was no
height to which he might not have climbed, had he been governed by a high purpose.
Hinrichs has preserved many of Fales’ letters. These two men were different in their
ideals, but each had the warmest affection for the other. Fales had a big heart, and
much is pardoned one who is generous.
“In 1868 the Milton Literary Association was organized and with this
association the Philologian Society was merged. Its incorporators were A. Augustus
Healy—for many years President of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences—
myself, and other members of the Philologian Society.
“For six years the Milton Association met weekly in the rooms of the Hamilton
Literary Society, of which Seth Low was the most prominent member, and which
subsequently became the Hamilton Club. The Milton was an exclusive society, no
one being admitted until he had been pronounced intellectually fit by an unanimous
vote of the members. In its conceit, it black-balled no less a personage than Hon.
William M. Ivins who was afterwards generally regarded as one of the most brilliant
men in the city of New York, and who, at a later period, was admitted to the
membership of the Milton. We debated all questions concerning the heavens above,
the earth beneath, and the waters under the earth.
“After six years the Miltonians became engrossed in professional and business
affairs and the meetings of the Association were discontinued, but reunion dinners
were held every few years. At one of these reunions Ivins arose, and to the surprise of
all, disclosed the existence of an organization named ‘Hiraf,’ which, he said, had been
created more than thirty-five years before, ‘for the purpose of testing human
credulity!’ The name ‘Hiraf’ was an acrostic made up of the first letters of the names
of five Miltonians.
“H stood for Frederick W. Hinrichs, the man who probably ran for more
important public offices, without being elected, than any man in the United States.
Page 98
In 1896 he ran for Lieutenant-Governor of New York on the Gold Democratic ticket;
in 1897 for President of the Borough of Brooklyn, on the Seth Low Fusion ticket; in
1898 for Attorney-General of the State of New York, on a Citizens’ ticket which was
to have been headed by Theodore Roosevelt; in 1903 for Comptroller of the City of
New York, on a Fusion ticket, headed by Seth Low for mayor. In 1904, he was
nominated for Governor of New York by a faction of the Democratic Party, and the
nomination was seconded by his brother Miltonian, A. Augustus Healy. He is
generally known for his independent speech and his consistent opposition to political
“I stood for William M. Ivins, who was one of the ablest lawyers in New York.
He became City Chamberlain, and was one of the leaders who brought about the
adoption of the secret ballot. Governor Charles T. Hughes appointed him chairman of
a charter commission, and he was most active in drawing a proposed new charter for
Greater New York—which a prominent politician told me was ‘the best charter that
could have been drawn for the people, but the worst for the politicians, and, therefore,
would never be adopted.’ At the request of Governor Hughes, Ivins drew the laws
under which the public utilities commissions have been appointed. On behalf of the
City he acted as counsel in the investigations of Tammany Hall; and he also ran for
Mayor of New York City.
“R stood for James C. Robinson, whose part in the activities of the ‘Hiraf’ is
evidenced by a letter which I will quote on a succeeding page.
“A stood for Charles Frederick Adams, an able and learned lawyer practicing in
New York.
“F stood for William E. S. Fales.
“That evening we learned from Ivins that the ‘Hiraf’ in its efforts to test human
credulity and to contribute to behavioristic psychology, conceived the idea of sending
an article to a Boston magazine, the Spiritual Scientist, which was one of the most
important spiritistic publications in the United States. The article was prepared by
four members of the ‘Hiraf,’ who without consultation with one another, wrote
psychic and esoteric sentences which were transmitted to Fales, who was known as
the ‘conjunctor,’ and whose duty it was to combine into a more or less consistent
whole the efforts of the various contributors . . . . . .
Page 99
“Although the ‘Hiraf ’ article was written by young men upon the threshold of
their careers, partly as an exercise in mental gymnastics, or even as a literary hoax,
nevertheless we must be struck by the fact that recent advances in science and some
of the arts make us believe that the time is not far distant when some of the dreams
and visions which have been entertained by theologians, philosophers, and prophets
in the past may be realized.
“. . . . . parties interested in the theosophic movement have insisted that
whatever the origin of the ‘Hiraf’ utterances may have been, the authors were,
without their knowledge, inspired, by a power over and beyond them, to utter words
of weight and possibly prophecy.
“Whatever adverse opinion may still be entertained as to Madame Blavatsky
and her cult, it cannot be denied that her teachings contain much that is interesting,
even elevating, and that she has managed to affect many, many thousands, from India
in the east to California in the west.”*
Further details concerning this matter may be gathered from a letter written by
Frederick W. Hinrichs to C. Jinarâjadâsa, dated from 140 Liberty Street, Manhattan,
New York, May 2, 1923, and which is now in the Adyar Archives. Mr. Hinrichs says:
“. . . . The writers of the ‘Hiraf’ article are William M. Ivins, William E. S. Fales
and myself. There were two others of our number who took a lively interest in our
philosophic and theological discussions,—but they contributed little or nothing to the
production. One was Charles F. Adams,—the other James Robinson. Of the group of
five, all are dead but myself. The name ‘Hiraf’ was made up of the initial letters of
our five names. I always thought that Adams had contributed some portion of the
essay,—but, shortly before his death, in reading over the article with me, he said that
he could not recognize that any part of it was his. All of us were young lawyers at the
time, or students of the law, with exception of Robinson, who was a clerk in a
commercial concern. Fales received the fragments prepared by Ivins and myself and,
together with his own contribution, welded the three into one. Fales, Ivins and I wrote
without consultation with one another on such topics as suggested themselves to us,
after we separated one evening. We five often met at the house of Fales (a manysided
genius) to read, to discuss literature, especially philosophic literature, and
cognate matters . . . .
* C. R. Flint, Memories of an Active Life, pp. 115-32.
Page 100
“. . . . We young men had little reverence, some learning and some power of
expression, and, at the meeting referred to, jocularly suggested to one another the
writing of a mystic article on Theosophy, esoteric science and what not. I had been
reading Zanoni, a book on Rosicrucianism, and the life of Paracelsus,—so that I
wrote, especially, along those lines. The Madame [H.P.B.] claimed to be a
Rosicrucian and, when Fales received my contribution and Ivins’ contribution (this
latter on recent phases of philosophical thought), he (Fales), without any consultation
with either Ivins or myself, dubbed the article, which he compounded out of our three
or four separate unrelated contributions—‘Rosicrucianism.’ Fales also created the
acrostic ‘Hiraf’ out of our initials, and added five stars, probably suggested by three
stars appended to an article which has previously appeared in the Madame’s paper.
We all laughed heartily over the compounded article and sent it to the Madame in
Boston. She published it in two numbers of her periodical, as I recall it, and wrote
two very flattering editorials on ‘Hiraf.’ Our production provoked considerable
comment, and called forth some correspondence from different widely separated
quarters, some of which correspondence appeared in the Madame’s paper.
“I have been told by Theosophists here, that we young men had written better
than we knew, and that we were probably inspired by higher powers. Of this, I know
nothing, although this may be so. Certain it is, that ‘Hiraf’ has been quite extensively
quoted as authority in various printed publications . . . .”
Such were the curious circumstances which provided the background to the
publication of the article entitled “Rosicrucianism” in the Spiritual Scientist, Vol. II,
July 1 and 8, 1875, pp. 202 and 212-13 respectively.
A brief item from the pen of Colonel Olcott introduced the “young author” to the
reading public in rather laudable terms, and promised a reply from “a most competent
The article drew from H.P.B. an immediate reply which was her first major
contribution on the subject of Occultism, a literary production which she herself
called “My first Occult Shot.” The text of this reply, in the words of Col. Olcott (Old
Diary Leaves. I, 103), “laid open the whole field of thought since ploughed up by the
members, friends, and adversaries of the Theosophical Society.”—Compiler.]
Page 101
[Spiritual Scientist, Boston, July 15 and 22, 1875, pp. 217-18, 224, 236-7]*
Among the numerous sciences pursued by the well-disciplined army of earnest
students of the present century, none has had less honors or more scoffing than the
oldest of them—the science of sciences, the venerable mother-parent of all our
modern pigmies. Anxious, in their petty vanity, to throw the veil of oblivion over
their undoubted origin, the self-styled, positive scientists, ever on the alert, present to
the courageous scholar who tries to deviate from the beaten highway traced out for
him by his dogmatic predecessors, a formidable range of serious obstacles.
As a rule, Occultism is a dangerous, double-edged weapon for one to handle,
who is unprepared to devote his whole life to it. The theory of it, unaided by serious
practice, will ever remain in the eyes of those prejudiced against such an unpopular
cause, an idle, crazy speculation, fit only to charm the ears of ignorant old women.
When we cast a look behind us, and see how, for the last thirty years, modern
Spiritualism has been dealt with, notwithstanding the occurrence of daily, hourly
proofs which speak to all our senses, stare us in the eyes, and utter their voices from
“beyond the great gulf,” how can we hope that Occultism, or Magic, which stands in
relation to Spiritualism as the Infinite to the Finite, as the cause to the effect, or as
unity to multifariousness, how can we hope, I say, that it will easily gain ground
where Spiritualism is scoffed at?
* [Along the side of this title, in H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. I, p. 41, where the cutting is pasted, may
be found H.P.B.’s remark in pen and ink:
My first Occult Shot
Page 102
One who rejects a priori, or even doubts, the immortality of man’s soul can never
believe in its Creator, and blind to what is heterogeneous in his eyes, will remain still
more blind to the proceeding of the latter from Homogeneity. In relation to the
Cabala, or the compound mystic textbook of all the great secrets of Nature, we do not
know of anyone in the present century who could have commanded a sufficient dose
of that moral courage which fires the heart of the true adept with the sacred flame of
propagandism—to force him into defying public opinion, by displaying familiarity
with that sublime work. Ridicule is the deadliest weapon of the age, and while we
read in the records of history of thousands of martyrs who joyfully braved flames and
faggots in support of their mystic doctrines in the past centuries, we would scarcely
be likely to find one individual in the present times, who would be brave enough even
to defy ridicule by seriously undertaking to prove the great truths embraced in the
traditions of the Past.
As an instance of the above, I will mention the article on Rosicrucianism, signed
“Hiraf.” This ably-written essay, notwithstanding some fundamental errors, which,
though they are such would be hardly noticed except by those who had devoted their
lives to the study of Occultism in its various branches of practical teaching, indicates
with certainty to the practical reader that, for theoretical knowledge, at least, the
author need fear few rivals, still less superiors. His modesty, which I cannot too much
appreciate in his case—though he is safe enough behind the mask of his fancy
pseudonym—need not give him any apprehensions. There are few critics in this
country of Positivism who would willingly risk themselves in an encounter with such
a powerful disputant, on his own ground. The weapons he seems to hold in reserve, in
the arsenal of his wonderful memory, his learning, and his readiness to give any
further information that enquirers may wish for, will undoubtedly scare off every
theorist, unless he is perfectly sure of himself, which few are.
Page 103
But book learning—and here I refer only to the subject of Occultism—vast as it may
be, will always prove insufficient even to the analytical mind, the most accustomed to
extract the quintessence of truth, disseminated throughout thousands of contradictory
statements, unless supported by personal experience and practice. Hence, Hiraf can
only expect an encounter with some one who may hope to find a chance to refute
some of his bold assertions on the plea of having just such a slight practical
experience. Still, it must not be understood that these present lines are intended to
criticize our too modest essayist. Far from poor, ignorant me be such a presumptuous
thought. My desire is simply to help him in his scientific but, as I said before, rather
hypothetical researches, by telling a little of the little I picked up in my long travels
throughout the length and breadth of the East—that cradle of Occultism—in the hope
of correcting certain erroneous notions he seems to be labouring under, and which are
calculated to confuse uninitiated sincere enquirers, who might desire to drink at his
own source of knowledge.
In the first place, Hiraf doubts whether there are in existence, in England or
elsewhere, what we term regular colleges for the neophytes of this Secret Science. I
will say from personal knowledge that such places there are in the East—in India,
Asia Minor, and other countries, As in the primitive days of Socrates and other sages
of antiquity, so now, those who are willing to learn the Great Truth will find the
chance if they only “try” to meet someone to lead them to the door of one “who
knows when and how.” If Hiraf is right about the seventh rule of the Brotherhood of
the Rosy Cross which says that “the Rose-crux becomes and is not made,” he may err
as to the exceptions which have ever existed among other Brotherhoods devoted to
the pursuit of the same secret knowledge.
Page 104
Then again, when he asserts, as he does, that Rosicrucianism is almost forgotten, we
may answer him that we do not wonder at it, and add, by way of parenthesis, that,
strictly speaking, the Rosicrucians do not now even exist, the last of that Fraternity
having departed in the person of Cagliostro.*
Hiraf ought to add to the word Rosicrucianism “that particular sect,” at least, for
it was but a sect after all, one of many branches of the same tree.
By forgetting to specify that particular denomination, and by including under the
name of Rosicrucians all those who, devoting their lives to Occultism, congregated
together in Brotherhoods, Hiraf commits an error by which he may unwittingly lead
people to believe that the Rosicrucians having disappeared, there are no more
Cabalists practicing Occultism on the face of the earth. He also becomes thereby
guilty of an anachronism,† attributing to the Rosicrucians the building of the
Pyramids and other majestic monuments, which indelibly exhibit in their architecture
the symbols of the grand religions of the Past. For it is not so. If the main object in
view was and still is alike with all the great family of the ancient and modern
Cabalists, the dogmas and formulae of certain sects differ greatly. Springing one after
the other from the great Oriental mother-root, they scattered broadcast all over the
world, and each of them desiring to outrival the other by plunging deeper and deeper
into the secrets jealously guarded by Nature, some of them became guilty of the
greatest heresies against the primitive Oriental Cabala.
While the first followers of the secret sciences, taught to the Chaldaeans by
nations whose very name was never breathed in history, remained stationary in their
studies, having arrived at the maximum, the Omega of the knowledge permitted to
man, many of the subsequent sects separated from them, and, in their uncontrollable
thirst for more knowledge, trespassed the boundaries of truth, and fell into fictions.
* Knowing but little about Occultism in Europe I may be mistaken; if so, any one who knows to the
contrary will oblige me by correcting my error.
† The same mistake pervades the whole of that able book, The Rosicrucians, by Hargrave Jennings.
Page 105
In consequence of Pythagoras so says Iamblichus—having by sheer force of energy
and daring penetrated into the mysteries of the Temple of Thebes, and obtained
therein his initiation, and afterwards studied the sacred sciences in Egypt for twentytwo
years, many foreigners were subsequently admitted to share the knowledge of the
wise men of the East, who, as a consequence, had many of their secrets divulged.
Later still, unable to preserve them in their purity, these mysteries were so mixed up
with fictions and fables of the Grecian mythology that truth was wholly distorted.
As the primitive Christian religion divided, in course of time, into numerous
sects, so the science of Occultism gave birth to a variety of doctrines and various
brotherhoods. So the Egyptian Ophites became the Christian Gnostics, shooting forth
the Basilideans of the second century, and the original Rosicrucians created
subsequently the Paracelsists, or Fire-Philosophers, the European Alchemists, and
other physical branches of their sect. (See Hargrave Jennings’ The Rosicrucians.) To
call indifferently every Cabalist a Rosicrucian, is to commit the same error as if we
were to call every Christian a Baptist on the ground that the latter are also Christians.
The Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross was not founded until the middle of the
thirteenth century, and notwithstanding the assertions of the learned Mosheim, it
derives its name, neither from the Latin word Ros (dew), nor from a cross, the
symbol of Lux. The origin of the Brotherhood can be ascertained by any earnest,
genuine student of Occultism, who happens to travel in Asia Minor, if he chooses to
fall in with some of the Brotherhood, and if he is willing to devote himself to the
head-tiring work of deciphering a Rosicrucian manuscript—the hardest thing in the
world, for it is carefully preserved in the archives of the very Lodge which was
founded by the first Cabalist of that name, but which now goes by another name. The
founder of it, a German Reuter [Knight], by the name of Rosencranz, was a man who,
after acquiring a very suspicious reputation through the practice of the Black Art, in
his native place, reformed in consequence of a vision. Giving up his evil practices, he
made a solemn vow, and went on foot to Palestine, in order to make his amende
honorable at the Holy Sepulchre.
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Once there, the Christian God, the meek, but well-informed Nazarene—trained as he
was in the high school of the Essenes, those virtuous descendants of the botanical as
well as astrological and magical Chaldaeans—appeared to Rosencranz, a Christian
would say, in a vision, but I would suggest, in the shape of a materialized spirit. The
purport of this visitation, as well as the subject of their conversation, remained
forever a mystery to many of the Brethren; but immediately after that, the ex-sorcerer
and Reuter disappeared, and was heard of no more till the mysterious sect of
Rosicrucians was added to the family of Cabalists, and their powers aroused popular
attention, even among the Eastern populations, indolent, and accustomed as they are
to live among wonders. The Rosicrucians strove to combine together the most various
branches of Occultism, and they soon became renowned for the extreme purity of
their lives and their extraordinary powers, as well as for their thorough knowledge of
the secret of the secrets.
As alchemists and conjurers they became proverbial. Later (I need not inform
Hiraf precisely when, as we drink at two different sources of knowledge), they gave
birth to the more modern Theosophists, at whose head was Paracelsus, and to the
Alchemists, one of the most celebrated of whom was Thomas Vaughan (seventeenth
century) who wrote the most practical things on Occultism, under the name of
Eugenius Philalethes. I know and can prove that Vaughan was, most positively,
“made before he became.”
The Rosicrucian Cabala is but an epitome of the Jewish and the Oriental ones
combined, the latter being the most secret of all. The Oriental Cabala, the practical,
full, and only existing copy, is carefully preserved at the headquarters of this
Brotherhood in the East, and, I may safely vouch, will never come out of its
possession. Its very existence has been doubted by many of the European
Rosicrucians. One who wants “to become” has to hunt for his knowledge through
thousands of scattered volumes, and pick up facts and lessons, bit by bit.
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Unless he takes the nearest way and consents “to be made,” he will never become a
practical Cabalist, and with all his learning will remain at the threshold the
“mysterious gate.” The Cabala may be used and its truths imparted on a smaller scale
now than it was in antiquity, and the existence of the mysterious Lodge, on account of
its secrecy, doubted; but it does exist and has lost none of the primitive secret powers
of the ancient Chaldaeans.* The lodges, few in number, are divided into sections and
known but to the Adepts; no one would be likely to find them out, unless the sages
themselves found the neophyte worthy of initiation. Unlike the European
Rosicrucians, who, in order “to become and not be made,” have constantly put into
practice the words of St. John, who says, “Heaven suffereth violence, and the violent
take it by force,” and who have struggled alone, violently robbing Nature of her
secrets, the Oriental Rosicrucians (for such we will call them, being denied the right
to pronounce their true name), in the serene beatitude of their divine knowledge, are
ever ready to help the earnest student struggling “to become” with practical
knowledge, which dissipates, like a heavenly breeze, the blackest clouds of sceptical
* For those who are able to understand intuitionally what I am about to say, my words will be but
the echo of their own thoughts. I draw the attention of such only, to a long series of inexplicable
events which have taken place in our present century; to the mysterious influence directing political
cataclysms; the doing and undoing of crowned heads; the tumbling down of thrones; the thorough
metamorphosis of nearly the whole of the European map, beginning with the French Revolution of
’93, predicted in every detail by the Count de St.-Germain, in an autograph MS., now in possession
of the descendants of the Russian nobleman to whom he gave it, and coming down to the Franco-
Prussian War of the latter days. This mysterious influence called “chance” by the skeptic and
Providence by Christians, may have a right to some other name. Of all these degenerated children of
Chaldaean Occultism, including the numerous societies of Freemasons, only one of them in the
present century is worth mentioning in relation to Occultism, namely, the “Carbonari.” Let some
one study all he can of that secret society, let him think, combine, deduce. If Raymond Lully, a
Rosicrucian, a Cabalist, could so easily supply King Edward I of England with six millions sterling
to carry on war with the Turks in that distant epoch, why could not some secret lodge in our day
furnish, as well, nearly the same amount of millions to France, to pay their national debt—this same
France, which was so wonderfully, quickly defeated, and as wonderfully set on her legs again. Idle
talk!—people will say. Very well, but even an hypothesis may be worth the trouble to consider
Page 108
Hiraf is right again when he says that “knowing that their mysteries, if divulged,”
in the present chaotic state of society, “would produce mere confusion and death,”
they shut up that knowledge within themselves Heirs to the early heavenly wisdom of
their first forefathers, they keep the keys which unlock the most guarded of Nature’s
secrets, and impart them only gradually and with the greatest caution But still they do
impart sometimes! Once in such a cercle vicieux, Hiraf sins likewise in a certain
comparison he makes between Christ, Buddha, and Khong-foo-tse, or Confucius. A
comparison can hardly be made between the two former wise and spiritual Illuminati,
and the Chinese philosopher. The higher aspirations and views of the two Christs can
have nothing to do with the cold, practical philosophy of the latter; brilliant anomaly
as he was among a naturally dull and materialistic people, peaceful and devoted to
agriculture from the earliest ages of their history Confucius can never bear the
slightest comparison with the two great Reformers. Whereas the principles and
doctrines of Christ and Buddha were calculated to embrace the whole of humanity,
Confucius confined his attention solely to his own country; trying to apply his
profound wisdom and philosophy to the wants of his countrymen, and little troubling
his head about the rest of mankind. Intensely Chinese in patriotism and views, his
philosophical doctrines are as much devoid of the purely poetic element, which
characterizes the teachings of Christ and Buddha, the two divine types, as the
religious tendencies of his people lack in that spiritual exaltation which we find, for
instance, in India Khong-foo-tse has not even the depth of feeling and the slight
spiritual striving of his contemporary, Lao-tse. Says the learned Ennemoser: “The
spirits of Christ and Buddha have left indelible, eternal traces all over the face of the
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The doctrines of Confucius can be mentioned only as the most brilliant
proceedings of cold human reasoning.” C. F. Haug, in his Allgemeine Geschichte,*
has depicted the Chinese nation perfectly, in a few words: their “heavy, childish, cold,
sensual nature explains the peculiarities of their history.” Hence any comparison
between the first two reformers and Confucius, in an essay on Rosicrucianism, in
which Hiraf treats of the Science of Sciences and invites the thirsty for knowledge to
drink at her inexhaustible source, seems inadmissible.
Further, when our learned author asserts so dogmatically that the Rosicrucian
learns, though he never uses, the secret of immortality in earthly life, he asserts only
what he himself, in his practical inexperience, thinks impossible. The words “never”
and “impossible” ought to be erased from the dictionary of humanity, until the time at
least when the great Cabala shall all be solved, and so rejected or accepted. The
“Count de Saint-Germain” is, until this very time, a living mystery, and the
Rosicrucian Thomas Vaughan another one. The countless authorities we have in
literature, as well as in oral tradition (which sometimes is the more trustworthy) about
this wonderful Count’s having been met and recognized in different centuries, is no
myth. Anyone who admits one of the practical truths of the Occult Sciences taught by
the Cabala, tacitly admits them all. It must be Hamlet’s “to be or not to be,” and if the
Cabala is true, then Saint-Germain need be no myth.
But I am digressing from my object, which is, firstly, to show the slight
differences between the two Cabalas—that of the Rosicrucians and the Oriental one;
and, secondly, to say that the hope expressed by Hiraf to see the subject better
appreciated at some future day than it has been till now, may perhaps become more
than a hope. Time will show many things; till then, let us heartily thank Hiraf for this
first well-aimed shot at those stubborn scientific runaways, who, once before the
Truth, avoid looking her in the face, and dare not even throw a glance behind them,
lest they should be forced to see that which would greatly lessen their selfsufficiency.
* [Stuttgart, 1841, p.127.]
Page 110
As a practical follower of Eastern Spiritualism, I can confidently wait for the time
when, with the timely help of those “who know,” American Spiritualism, which even
in its present shape has proved such a sore in the side of the materialists, will become
a science and a thing of mathematical certitude, instead of being regarded only as the
crazy delusion of epileptic monomaniacs.
The first Cabala in which a mortal man ever dared to explain the greatest
mysteries of the universe, and show the keys to “those masked doors in the ramparts
of Nature through which no mortal can ever pass without rousing dread sentries never
seen upon this side of her wall,” was compiled by a certain Shimon Ben Yochai, who
lived at the time of the second Temple’s destruction. Only about thirty years after the
death of this renowned Cabalist, his MSS. and written explanations, which had till
then remained in his possession as a most precious secret, were used by his son Rabbi
Eleazar and other learned men. Making a compilation of the whole, they so produced
the famous work called Zohar (God’s splendour). This book proved an inexhaustible
mine for all the subsequent Cabalists their source of information and knowledge, and
all more recent and genuine Cabalas were more or less carefully copied from the
former. Before that, all the mysterious doctrines had come down in an unbroken line
of merely oral traditions as far back as man could trace himself on earth. They were
scrupulously and jealously guarded by the Wise Men of Chaldaea, India, Persia and
Egypt, and passed from one initiate to another, in the same purity of form as when
handed down to the first man by the angels, students of God’s great Theosophic
Seminary. For the first time since the world’s creation, the secret doctrines, passing
through Moses who was initiated in Egypt, underwent some slight alterations. In
consequence of the personal ambition of this great prophet-medium, he succeeded in
passing off his familiar spirit, the wrathful “Jehovah,” for the spirit of God himself,
and so won undeserved laurels and honors. The same influence prompted him to alter
some of the principles of the great oral Cabala in order to make them the more secret.
Page 111
These principles were laid out in symbols by him in the first four books of the
Pentateuch, but for some mysterious reasons he withheld them from Deuteronomy.
Having initiated his seventy Elders in his own way, the latter could give but what
they had received themselves, and so was prepared the first opportunity for heresy,
and the erroneous interpretations of the symbols. While the Oriental Cabala remained
in its pure primitive shape, the Mosaic or Jewish one was full of drawbacks, and the
keys to many of the secrets—forbidden by the Mosaic law—purposely
misinterpreted. The powers conferred by it on the initiates were formidable still, and
of all the most renowned Cabalists, King Solomon and his bigoted parent, David,
notwithstanding his penitential psalms, were the most powerful. But still the doctrine
remained secret and purely oral, until, as I have said before, the days of the second
Temple’s destruction. Philologically speaking, the very word Cabala is formed from
two Hebrew words, meaning to receive, as in former times the initiate received it
orally and directly from his Master, and the very Book of the Zohar was written out
on received information, which was handed down as an unvarying stereotyped
tradition by the Orientals, and altered through the ambition of Moses, by the Jews.
If the primitive Rosicrucians learned their first lessons of wisdom from Oriental
masters, not so with their direct descendants, the fire-philosophers or Paracelsists; for
in many things the Cabala of the latter Illuminati proves to be degenerated into a twin
sister of the Jewish. Let us compare. Besides admitting the “Shedim,” or intermediate
spirits of the Jews—the elementary ones, which they divide into four classes, those of
the air, of the water, the fire, and of minerals—the Christian Cabalist believes like the
Jewish, in Asmodeus, the Ever-accursed One, or our good friend the orthodox Satan.
Asmodeus, or Asmodi, is the chief of the elementary goblins. This doctrine alone
differs considerably from the Oriental philosophy, which denies that the great Ainsoph
(the Endless or Boundless) who made his existence known through the medium
of the spiritual
Page 112
substance sent forth from his Infinite Light—the eldest of the ten Intelligences or
Emanations—the first Sephira—could ever create an endless, macrocosmal evil. It
(Oriental philosophy) teaches us that, though the first three spheres out of seven—
taking it for granted that our planet comes in fourth—are inhabited by elementary or
future men (this might account for the modern doctrine of Re-incarnation perhaps)
and, though until they become such men they are beings without immortal souls in
them and but the “grossest purgations of the celestial fire,” still they do not belong to
Eternal Evil. Every one of them has the chance in store of having its matter reborn on
this “fourth sphere,” which is our planet, and so have “the gross purgation” purified
by the Immortal Breath of the Aged of the Aged, who endows every human being
with a portion of his boundless self. Here, on our planet, commences the first spiritual
transition, from the Infinite to the Finite, of the elementary matter which first
proceeded from the pure Intelligence, or God, and also the operation of that pure
Principle upon this material purgation. Thus begins the immortal man to prepare for
In their primitive shape, the elementary spirits, so often mistaken in modern
Spiritualism for the undeveloped or unprogressed spirits of our dead, stand in relation
to our planet as we stand in relation to the Summer Land. When we use the term
“disembodied spirit,” we only repeat what the elementary ones most certainly think
or say of us human beings, and if they are as yet devoid of immortal souls, they are,
nevertheless, gifted with instinct and craft, and we appear as little material to them as
the spirits of the fifth sphere appear to us. With our passage into each subsequent
sphere, we throw off something of our primitive grossness. Hence, there is eternal
progress—physical and spiritual—for every living being. The transcendental
knowledge and philosophy of the greatest Oriental Cabalists never penetrated beyond
a certain mark, and the Hermetist, or rather Rosicrucian, if we would be precise,
never went farther than to solve the majestic, but more limited problems of the Jewish
Cabala, which we can divide thus:
(From W. T. Hewett’s Cornell University: A History, New York, 1905.
Consult the Bio-Bibliographical Index, for biographical sketch.)
Temporarily occupied by the Corsons in 1875, when H.P.B. visited them.
Part of Isis Unveiled was written here.
(From E.R. Corson’s Some Unpublished Letters of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, London, 1929.)
Page 113
1. The nature of the Supreme Being:
2. The origin, creation, and generation of the Universe, the Macrocosmos;
3. The creation, or generation, of outflowing of angels and man;
4. The ultimate destiny of angels, man, and the Universe; or the inflowing;
5. To point out to humanity the real meaning of the whole of the Hebrew
As it is, the real, the complete Cabala of the first ages of humanity is in
possession, as I said before, of but a few Oriental philosophers; where they are, who
they are, is more than is given me to reveal. Perhaps I do not know it myself, and
have only dreamed it. Thousands will say it is all imagination; so be it. Time will
show. The only thing I can say is that such a body exists, and that the location of their
Brotherhoods will never be revealed to other countries, until the day when Humanity
shall awake in a mass from its spiritual lethargy, and open its blind eyes to the
dazzling light of Truth. A too premature discovery might blind them, perhaps forever.
Until then, the speculative theory of their existence, will be supported by what people
erroneously believe to be supernal facts. Notwithstanding the selfish, sinful
opposition of science to Spiritualism in general, and that of the scientists in particular,
who, forgetting that their first duty is to enlighten Humanity, instead of that, allow
millions of people to lose themselves and drift about like so many disabled ships,
without pilot or compass, among the sandbanks of superstition; notwithstanding the
toy-thunderbolts and harmless anathemas hurled around by the ambitious and crafty
clergy, who, above all men, ought to believe in spiritual truths; notwithstanding the
apathetic indifference of that class of people who prefer believing in nothing,
pretending the while to believe in the teachings of their churches, which they select
according to their best notions of respectability and fashion; notwithstanding all these
things, Spiritualism will rise above all, and its progress can be as little helped as the
dawn of the morning or the rising of the sun. Like the former, will the glorious Truth
arise among all these black clouds gathered in the East; like the latter, will its brilliant
light pour forth upon awakening humanity its dazzling rays.
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These rays will dissipate these clouds and the unhealthy mists of a thousand religious
sects which disgrace the present century. They will warm up and recall into new life
the millions of wretched souls who shiver and are half frozen under the icy hand of
killing skepticism. Truth will prevail at last, and Spiritualism, the new world’s
conqueror, reviving, like the fabulous Phoenix out of the ashes of its first parent,
Occultism, will unite for ever in one Immortal Brotherhood all antagonistic races; for
this new St. Michael will crush for ever the dragon’s head—of Death!
I have but a few words more to say before I close. To admit the possibility of
anyone becoming a practical Cabalist (or a Rosicrucian, we will call him, as the
names seem to have become synonymous) who simply has the firm determination to
“become” one, and hopes to get the secret knowledge through studying the Jewish
Cabala, or every other one that may come into existence, without actually being
initiated by another, and so being “made” such by someone who “knows,” is as
foolish as to hope to thread the famous labyrinth without the clue, or to open the
secret locks of the ingenious inventors of the mediaeval ages, without having
possession of the keys. If the Christian New Testament, the easiest and youngest of
all the Cabalas known to us, has presented such immense difficulties to those who
would interpret its mysteries and secret meanings (which, were they only once
studied with the key of modern Spiritualism, would open as simply as the casket in
Aesop’s fable), what hope can there be for a modern Occultist, learned only in
theoretical knowledge, to ever attain his object? Occultism without practice will ever
be like the statue of Pygmalion, and no one can animate it without infusing into it a
spark of the sacred Divine Fire. The Jewish Cabala, the only authority of the
European Occultist, is all based on the secret meanings of the Hebrew scriptures,
which, in their turn, indicate the keys to them, by signs hidden and unintelligible to
the uninitiated.
Page 115
They afford no hope for the adepts to solve them practically. The Seventh Rule of the
Rosicrucian “who became, but was not made” has its secret meaning, like every other
phrase left by the Cabalists to posterity, in writing. The words: “The dead letter
killeth,” which Hiraf quotes, can be applied in this case with still more justice than to
the Christian teachings of the first apostles. A Rosicrucian had to struggle ALONE,
and toil long years to find some of the preliminary secrets—the A B C of the great
Cabala—only on account of his ordeal, during which were to be tried all his mental
and physical energies. After that, if found worthy, the word “Try” was repeated to
him for the last time before the final ceremony of the ordeal. When the High Priests
of the Temple of Osiris, of Serapis, and others, brought the neophyte before the
dreaded Goddess Isis, the word “Try” was pronounced for the last time; and then, if
the neophyte could withstand that final mystery, the most dreaded as well as the most
trying of all horrors for him who knew not what was in store for him; if he bravely
“lifted the veil of Isis,” he became an initiate, and had naught to fear more. He had
passed the last ordeal, and no longer dreaded to meet face to face the inhabitants from
“over the dark river.”
The only cause for the horror and dread we feel in the presence of death, lies in
its unsolved mystery. A Christian will always fear it, more or less; an initiate of the
secret science, or a true Spiritualist, never; for both of the latter have lifted the veil of
Isis, and the great problem is solved by both, in theory and in practice.
Many thousand years ago the wise King Solomon declared that “There is
nothing new under the Sun,” and the words of this very wise man ought to be
repeated till the farthest ends of time. There is not a science, nor a modern discovery
in any section of it, but was known to the Cabalists thousands of years since. This
will appear a bold and ridiculous assertion, I know; and one apparently unconfirmed
by any authority.
Page 116
But I will answer that where truth stares one in the face, there can be no other
authority than one’s senses. The only authority I know of, lies scattered throughout
the East. Besides, who would ever dare, in the ever-changing, ever-discovering
Europe, or adolescent America, to risk proclaiming himself as an authority? The
scientist, who was an authority yesterday, becomes by the mere lucky chance a
contemporary discoverer, a worn-out hypothesist. How easily the astronomer of today
forgets that all his science is but the picking up of crumbs left by the Chaldaean
astrologists. What would not modern physicians, practitioners of their blind and lame
science of medicine, give for a part of the knowledge of botany and plants—I won’t
say of the Chaldaeans—but even of the more modern Essenians. The simple history
of the Eastern people, their habits and customs, ought to be a sure guarantee that what
they once knew, they cannot have totally forgotten. While Europe has changed twenty
times its appearance, and been turned upside down by religious and political
revolutions and social cataclysms, Asia has remained stationary. What was, two
thousand years ago, exists now with very little variation. Such practical knowledge as
was possessed by the ancients could not die out so soon with such a people. The hope
of finding remnants even of such wisdom as Ancient Asia possessed, ought to tempt
our conceited modern science to explore her territory.
And thus is it that all we know of what we profess and live upon, comes to us
from the scorned, despised Occultism of the East. Religion and sciences, laws and
customs—all of these, are closely related to Occultism, and are but its result, its direct
products, disguised by the hand of time, and palmed upon us under new pseudonyms.
If people ask me for the proof, I will answer that it does not enter my province to
teach others what they can learn themselves with very little difficulty, provided they
give themselves the trouble to read and think over what they read. Besides, the time is
near when all the old superstitions and the errors of centuries must be swept away by
the hurricane of Truth.
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As the prophet Mohammed, when he perceived that the mountain would not come to
him, went himself towards the mountain, so Modern Spiritualism made its
unexpected appearance from the East, before a skeptical world, to terminate in a very
near future the oblivion into which the ancient secret wisdom had fallen.
Spiritualism is but a baby now, an unwelcome stranger, whom public opinion,
like an unnatural foster mother, tries to crush out of existence. But it is growing, and
this same East may one day send some experienced, clever nurses to take care of it.
The immediate danger of Salem tragedies has passed away. The Rochester knockings,
tiny as they were, awoke some vigilant friends, who, in their turn, aroused thousands
and millions of jealous defenders for the true Cause. The most difficult part is done;
the door stands ajar; it remains for such minds as Hiraf invites to help earnest truthseekers
to the key which will open for them the gates, and aid them to pass the
threshold dividing this world from the next, “without rousing the dread sentries never
seen upon this side of her wall.” It belongs to the exact knowledge of the Occultist to
explain and alter much of what seems “repulsive” in Spiritualism, to some of the too
delicate Orthodox souls. The latter may object the more to Spiritualistic phenomena,
on the ground that Cabalism is mixed up with it. They will begin to prove that
Occultism, if it does exist, is the forbidden “Black Art,” the sorcery for which people
were burnt, not so long ago. In such a case I will humbly reply, that there is nothing
in nature but has two sides to it. Occultism is certainly no exception to the rule, and is
composed of White and Black magic. But so is Orthodox religion, likewise. When an
Occultist is a real Rosicrucian, he is a thousand times purer and nobler, and more
divine, than any of the holiest Orthodox priests; but when one of the latter gives
himself up to the turbulent demon of his own vile passions, and so rouses all the
fiends, they shout with joy at the sight of such a perversity. In what, pray, is this
Orthodox priest better than the blackest of all the sorcerers’ dealings with the
Elementary “Dweller,” or with the “Diakka” of A. J. Davis? Verily, we have White
and Black Christianity, as well as White and Black magic.
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O, you very Orthodox priests and clergymen of various creeds and
denominations, you who are so intolerant towards Spiritualism, this purest of the
Children of Ancient Magic, can you tell me why, in such a case, you practice daily
yourselves, all the most prominent rites of magic in your churches, and follow the
antetypes of the very ceremonies of Occultism? Can you light a taper, or illuminate
your altars with circles of wax lights, for instance, and not repeat the rites of magic?
What is your altar with the vertical burning candles, but the modern mimicry of the
original magic monolith with the Baal fires upon it? Don’t you know that by doing so
you are following right in the steps of the ancient fire-worshippers, the Persian
Heathen Ghebers? And your Pope’s sparkling mitre, what is it but the direct
descendant of the Mithraic Sacrifice, symbolical covering invented for the heads of
the high priests of this very Occultism in Chaldaea? Having passed through numerous
transformations it now rests in its last (?) Orthodox shape, upon the venerable head of
your successor of St. Peter. Little do the devout worshippers of the Vatican suspect,
when they lift up their eyes in mute adoration upon the head of their God on Earth,
the Pope, that what they admire, is after all, but the caricatured head-dress, the
Amazon-like helmet of Pallas Athene, the heathen goddess Minerva! In fact, there is
scarcely a rite or ceremony of the Christian Church that does not descend from
But say or think what you will, you cannot help that which was, is, and ever will
be, namely, the direct communication between the two worlds. We term this
intercourse modern Spiritualism, with the same right and logic as when we say the
“New World,” in speaking of America.
I will close by startling, perhaps, even Orthodox Spiritualists by reaffirming that
all who have ever witnessed our modern materializations of genuine spirit-forms,
have, unwittingly, become the initiated neophytes of the Ancient Mystery; for each
and all of them have solved the problem of Death, have “lifted the veil of Isis.”
Page 119
[At the end of this article, in her Scrapbook, Vol. I, p. 45, where the cutting was
pasted, H.P.B. wrote in pen and ink the following:]
Shot No. 1—Written by H.P.B. by express orders from S *** (See first result in
the query from a learned!! Mason—art: “Rosicrucianism,” back of the page.
[The parenthesis is not closed in the original.]
[In her Scrapbook, Vol. III, H.P.B. pasted the cuttings of this long article again.
It occupies pages 241-245 therein. She signed the article in pen and ink: H. P.
Blavatsky, June 1875.]
[Spiritual Scientist, Boston, Vol. II, July 22, 1875, p. 235]
A most outrageous swindle was perpetrated upon the public last Sunday
evening, at the Boston Theatre. Some persons with no higher aspirations in the world,
than a lust for a few dollars to fill their pockets depleted by unsuccessful cheap
shows, advertised a “Séance” and engaged as “Mediums” some of the most impudent
impostors with which the world is cursed. They furthermore abused public
confidence by causing it to be understood that these people were to appear before the
Scientific Commission at St. Petersburg.
Is it not about time that some Society in Boston should be sufficiently strong
financially, and have members who will have the requisite energy TO ACT, in an
emergency like this? Common sense would dictate what might be done, and a
determined WILL would overcome all obstacles. Spiritualism needs a Vigilance
Committee. Public opinion will justify any measures that will tend to check this
trifling. “Up, and At Them” should be the watchword, until we have rid Society of
these pests and their supporters.
Page 120
The Press of Boston are disposed to be fair towards Spiritualists. But if
Spiritualists do not care enough for Spiritualism to defend it from tricksters who have
not sufficient skill to merit them the title of jugglers, how can they expect any
different treatment than that it is receiving?
As a proof of the sincerity of the Boston Press, and also in support and further
explanation of the above, we might mention that the following card sent to all the
Morning Dailies, was accepted and printed in Tuesday’s edition.
BOSTON, July 19th, 1875.
Sir,—The undersigned desire to say that the persons who advertised a so-called
spiritualistic exhibition, at the Boston Theatre, last evening, were guilty of false
representations to the public. We are alone empowered by the Academy of Sciences
attached to the Imperial University of St. Petersburg, Russia, to select the mediums
who shall be invited by that body to display their powers during the forthcoming
scientific investigation of Spiritualism, and Mr. E. Gerry Brown, editor Spiritual
Scientist of this city, is our only authorized Deputy.
Neither “F. Warren,” “Prof. J. T. Bates,” “Miss Suydam,” “Mrs. S. Gould,” nor
“Miss Lillie Darling,” has been selected, or are at all likely to be selected for that
As this swindle may be again attempted, we desire to say, once for all, that no
medium accepted by us will be obliged to exhibit his powers to earn money to defray
his expenses, nor will any such exhibition be tolerated. The Imperial University of St.
Petersburg makes this investigation in the interest of science; not to assist charlatans
to give juggling performances in theatres, upon the strength of our certificates.
Page 121
[In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook Vol. I, pp. 54-55, there is a cutting from a weekly journal.
The Liberal Christian, of Saturday, September 4, 1875, which consists of an article
entitled “Rosicrucianism” in New York.” It is unsigned but is known to have been
written by the Rev. Dr. J. H. Wiggin, the Editor of that Journal. Starting with a
superficial survey of Rosicrucian ideas, Dr. Wiggin goes on to relate the
circumstances under which he had recently met H. P. Blavatsky. He says:
“It was just after Col. Olcott’s astounding stories in the Sun about the floral gifts
received from the spirits through a Boston medium, that I was kindly bidden by my
friend Mr. Sotheran, of the American Bibliopolist, to meet both Madame and the
Colonel the following evening in Irving Place; with permission to bring some
friends . . .”
According to Dr. Wiggin’s account, there were present at this gathering: Col.
Olcott. Il Conte, “the secretary once of Mazzini,” Charles Sotheran, Judge M. of New
Jersey, his wife, Mr. M., a Boston gentleman, and H. P. Blavatsky, who, he says, was
“the centre of the group.”
To the cutting in her Scrapbook, H.P.B. appended the following remarks in pen
and ink:]
Written by Rev. Dr. Wiggin. This article provoked the wrath of Rev. Dr. Bellows;
hence he wrote another one, on “Sorcery and Necromancy” and pitched into us.
[H.P.B. then drew a blue line from the title along the cutting to the bottom on the
right edge of page 55 and added in pen and ink the following significant remark:]
On that evening the first idea of the Theos. Society was discussed.
Page 122
[To this, Col. Olcott added the following note, possibly at a later date:]
For a much better account see a quotation on p. 296 of E. H. Britten’s Nineteenth
Century Miracles, London 1883.
[Unfortunately, Col. Olcott’s remark confuses the issue. What he has in mind is a
report of the gathering that took place in H.P.B.’s quarters, at 46 Irving Place, on
Tuesday, September 7, 1875, which was published in one of the New York Dailies
and reprinted in The Spiritual Scientist a year later. Some seventeen people were
present at this meeting, and George H. Felt, an engineer and architect, gave a lecture
on “The Lost Canon of Proportion of the Egyptians.” It is this account that was
included in Mrs. Emma Hardinge-Britten’s work, and it is obvious, of course, that Dr.
Wiggin could not have reported it in the September 4th issue of his Journal.
We have seen that Dr. Wiggin specifically mentions Col. Olcott’s stories in the
New York Sun. This has reference to his article entitled “Ghosts That Are Ghosts,”
published in the Sun of Wednesday, August 18, 1875, in which he outlines at
considerable length the remarkable mediumship of Mrs. Mary Baker Thayer of
Boston, whose phenomena consisted mainly of apports of flowers and birds.
Somewhat prior to the above-mentioned date, Col. Olcott had occasion personally to
investigate the genuineness of her powers and remained thoroughly convinced of
their bona fides.
From Dr. Wiggin’s words it would appear that the gathering he describes took
place fairly soon after Col. Olcott’s published account of Mrs. Thayer’s phenomena.
As no mention of any such gathering occurs in The Liberal Christian of Saturday,
August 28th, it is likely that it took place sometime between August 28th and
September 4th.
In mentioning this earlier gathering, but giving no date, Col. Olcott (Old Diary
Leaves, I, 114-15) speaks of it as having taken place “during the previous week,” and
identifies one of the persons present as Signor Bruzzesi, who may have been the same
personage as “Il Conte” of Dr. Wiggin. By “previous week” he means the period
between August 29th and September 4th.
There seems to be no reason, however, to doubt the fact that the actual formation
of the Theosophical Society took place on September 7th, 1875, even though, in Col.
Olcott’s own words “no official memorandum exists of the persons actually present
on that particular evening,” and “no official record by the Secretary of the attendance
at this first meeting survives” (op. cit., pp. 114, 118).
Page 123
In a book which belonged to H.P.B. and is now in the Library at Adyar, entitled A
Guide to Theosophy—a Collection of Select Articles which was published by
Tukaram Tatya in Bombay in 1887, we find on page 51 the Objects and Rules of the
T.S., as revised in 1886. Among other things, the account states that the Society was
formed at New York, U.S. of America, 17 November, 1875. To this H.P.B. appended
a footnote in pen and ink:]
Formally; Yet in truth it was founded on 7th Sept. 1875 at my house in 46 Irving
Place New York.
[On page 79 of Vol. I of H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, there is another cutting from The
Liberal Christian of September 25, 1875. It is a report of the Meeting of September 7,
1875, entitled “The Cabala.” It describes Mr. Felt’s lecture and mentions the
formation of the Theosophical “Club.” It speaks of Dr. Pancoast of Philadelphia as a
very wise occultist, and refers to his statement to the effect that ancient occultists
“could summon long departed ‘spirits from the vasty deep,’ and compel them to
answer questions.” To this H.P.B. appended the following remark in pen and ink:]
Not “departed Spirits or souls” but the “Elementals” the beings living in the
[We must bear in mind that Col. Olcott, when writing the First Series of his Old
Diary Leaves, did so from memory, as his actual Diaries of the period 1874-78 had
mysteriously disappeared. Speaking of the gathering on September 7th, he says that
during the animated discussion which followed Felt’s lecture,
“. . . the idea occurred to me [Olcott] that it would be a good thing to form a
society to pursue and promote such occult research, and, after turning it over in my
mind, I wrote on a scrap of paper the following:
‘Would it not be a good thing to form a Society for this kind of study?’
—and gave it to Judge, at the moment standing between me and H.P.B., sitting
opposite, to pass over to her. She read it and nodded assent . . . .”
On the other hand, Annie Besant, writing in Lucifer (Vol. XII, April, 1893, p.
105) about the formation of the T.S., says that
“. . . she [H.P.B.] has told me herself how her Master bade her found it, and how
at His bidding she wrote the suggestion of starting it on a slip of paper and gave it to
W. Q. Judge to pass to Colonel Olcott; and then the Society had its first
beginning . . .”
Page 124
While these two contradictory accounts are somewhat perplexing to the historian, we
must bear in mind that neither of them is based on any actual document or written
contemporary account. What is of particular importance and interest, however, is the
fact that H.P.B. herself, as we have seen earlier in the present Volume, concluded her
“Important Note” pasted in her Scrapbook, I, pp. 20-21, with the statement that “. . .
M ... brings orders to form a Society—a secret Society like the Rosicrucian Lodge.
He promises to help.” In addition to that, she specifically states having received
orders from India “to establish a philosophico-religious Society” and to “choose
Olcott,” and dates this notation “July 1875.”
It is evident, therefore, that the impending formation of such a Society was
already “in the air,” so to say, a considerable time prior to the gathering at which it
was first broached.]
[In addition to H.P.B., Col. Olcott and W. Q. Judge, the other “formers” of the
Theosophical Society, to use Col. Olcott’s own expression, were: Charles Sotheran,
Dr. Charles E. Simmons, Herbert D. Monachesi, Charles C. Massey, W. L. Alden,
George H. Felt, D. E. de Lara, Dr. W. Britten, Mrs. Emma Hardinge-Britten, Henry J.
Newton, John Storer Cobb, J. Hyslop, and H. M. Stevens.
The reader should consult the BIO-BIOGRAPHICAL INDEX at the end of the
present Volume, under the respective names. A special effort has been made to collect
as much information as was possible to obtain concerning at least some of these
individuals. A few of them have remained untraced.—Compiler.]
[In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. I, p. 57, an article by Col. Olcott is pasted in,
entitled “Spiritualism Rampant.” It is dated September 7, 1875, and deals with the
Elementary Spirits and their personations. H.P.B. pasted at the side of this article
three small coloured cartoons: a very fat man with an enormous head; three bottles of
whiskey with faces on corks; and the head of a clown with squinting eyes. Under
them, H.P.B. wrote in pen and ink:]
The present generation of men gradually evolving from—plants, vegetables,
fish and becoming finally Whiskey bottles,—the “Embryonic man” or ancestor of the
present race.
Page 125
Page 126
[Spiritual Scientist, Boston, Vol. III, September 23, 1875, pp. 25-7]
Being daily in receipt of numerous letters—written with the view of obtaining
advice as to the best method of receiving information respecting Occultism, and the
direct relation it bears to modern Spiritualism, and not having sufficient time at my
disposal to answer these requests, I now propose to facilitate the mutual labor of
myself and correspondents, by naming herein a few of the principal works treating
upon magiism, and the mysteries of such modern Hermetists.
To this I feel bound to add, respecting what I have stated before, to wit: that
would-be aspirants must not lure themselves with the idea of any possibility of their
becoming practical Occultists by mere book-knowledge. The works of the Hermetic
Philosophers were never intended for the masses, as Mr. Charles Sotheran,* one of
the most learned members of the Society Rosae Crucis, in a late essay, thus observes:
“Gabriele Rossetti in his Disquisitions on the Antipapal spirit, which produced the
Reformation, shows that the art of speaking and writing in a language which bears a
double interpretation, is of very great antiquity; that it was in practice among the
priests of Egypt, brought from thence by the Manichees, whence it passed to the
Templars and Albigenses, spread over Europe, and brought about the Reformation.”
The ablest book that was ever written on Symbols and Mystic Orders, is most
certainly Hargrave Jennings’ The Rosicrucians, and yet it has been repeatedly called
“obscure trash” in my presence, and that too, by individuals who were most decidedly
well-versed in the rites and mysteries of modern Freemasonry.
* [See the Bio-Bibliographical Index for information concerning him.—Compiler.]
Page 127
Persons who lack even the latter knowledge, can easily infer from this, what would
be the amount of information they might derive from still more obscure and mystical
works than the latter; for if we compare Hargrave Jennings’ book with some of the
mediaeval treatises and ancient works of the most noted Alchemists and Magi, we
might find the latter as much more obscure than the former—as regards language—as
a pupil in celestial Philosophy would the Book of the Heavens, if he should examine
a far distant star with the naked eye, rather than with the help of a powerful telescope.
Far from me, though, the idea of disparaging in anyone the laudable impulse to
search ardently after Truth, however arid and ungrateful the task may appear at first
sight; for my own principle has ever been to make the Light of Truth, the beacon of
my life. The words uttered by Christ eighteen centuries ago: “Believe and you will
understand,” can be applied in the present case, and repeating them with but a slight
modification, I may well say: “Study and you will believe.”
But to particularize one or another Book on Occultism, to those who are anxious
to begin their studies in the hidden mysteries of nature is something, the
responsibility of which, I am not prepared to assume. What may be clear to one who
is intuitional, if read in the same book by another person, might prove meaningless.
Unless one is prepared to devote to it his whole life, the superficial knowledge of
Occult Sciences will lead him surely to become the target for millions of ignorant
scoffers to aim their blunderbusses, loaded with ridicule and chaff, against. Besides
this, it is in more than one way dangerous to select this science as a mere pastime.
One must bear forever in mind the impressive fable of Oedipus, and beware of the
same consequences. Oedipus unriddled but one-half of the enigma offered him by the
Sphinx, and caused its death; the other half of the mystery avenged the death of the
symbolic monster, and forced the King of Thebes to prefer blindness and exile in his
despair, rather than face what he did not feel himself pure enough to encounter. He
unriddled the man, the form, and had forgotten God—the idea.
If a man would follow in the steps of Hermetic Philosophers, he must prepare
himself beforehand for martyrdom.
Page 128
He must give up personal pride and all selfish purposes, and be ready for everlasting
encounters with friends and foes. He must part, once for all, with every remembrance
of his earlier ideas, on all and on everything. Existing religions, knowledge, science
must rebecome a blank book for him, as in the days of his babyhood, for if he wants
to succeed he must learn a new alphabet on the lap of Mother Nature, every letter of
which will afford a new insight to him, every syllable and word an unexpected
revelation. The two hitherto irreconcilable foes, science and theology—the
Montecchi and Capuletti of the nineteenth century—will ally themselves with the
ignorant masses, against the modern Occultist. If we have outgrown the age of stakes,
we are in the heyday, per contra, of slander, the venom of the press, and all these
mephitic venticelli of calumny, so vividly expressed by the immortal Don Basilio.*
To Science, it will be the duty, arid and sterile as a matter of course—of the Cabalist
to prove that from the beginning of time there was but one positive Science—
Occultism; that it was the mysterious lever of all intellectual forces, the Tree of
Knowledge of good and evil of the Allegorical Paradise, from whose gigantic trunk
sprang in every direction boughs, branches and twigs, the former shooting forth
straight enough at first, the latter, deviating with every inch of growth, assuming
more and more fantastical appearances, till at last one after the other, lost its vital
juice, got deformed, and, drying up, finally broke off, scattering the ground afar with
heaps of rubbish. To Theology, the Occultist of the future will have to demonstrate,
that the Gods of the Mythologies, the Elohim of Israel as well as the religious,
theological mysteries of Christianity, to begin with the Trinity, sprang from the
sanctuaries of Memphis and Thebes; that their mother Eve is but the spiritualized
Psyche of old, both of them paying a like penalty for their curiosity, descending to
Hades or Hell, the latter to bring back to earth the famous Pandora’s box—the former,
to search out and crush the head of the serpent—symbol of time and evil; the crime of
both expiated by the Pagan Prometheus and the Christian Lucifer; the first, delivered
by Hercules—the second conquered by the Saviour.
* [A calumniating niggardly bigot in de Beaumarchais’ Barber of Seville and Marriage of Figaro.—
Page 129
Furthermore, the Occultist will have to prove to the Christian Theology,
publicly, what many of its priesthood are well aware of in secret—namely, that their
God on earth was a Cabalist, the meek representative of a tremendous Power, which,
if misapplied, might shake the world to its foundations; and that, of all their
evangelical symbols, there is not one but can be traced up to its parent fount. For
instance, their Incarnated Verbum or Logos was worshipped at His birth by the three
Magi, led on by the star, and received from them the gold, the frankincense and
myrrh, the whole of which is simply an excerpt from the Cabala our modern
theologians despise, and the representation of another and still more mysterious
“Ternary,”* embodying allegorically in its emblems, the highest secrets of the Cabala.
A clergy, whose main object ever has been to make of their Divine Cross the
gallows of Truth, and Freedom, could not do otherwise than try and bury in oblivion
the origin of that same cross, which, in the most primitive symbols of the Egyptians’
magic, represents the key to Heaven. Their anathemas are powerless in our days, the
multitude is wiser; but the greatest danger awaits us just in that latter direction, if we
do not succeed in making the masses remain at least neutral—till they come to know
better—in this forthcoming conflict between Truth, Superstition and Presumption; or,
to express it in other terms, Occult Spiritualism, Theology and Science. We have to
fear neither the miniature thunderbolts of the clergy, nor the unwarranted negations of
Science. But Public Opinion, this invisible, intangible, omnipresent, despotic tyrant;
this thousand-headed Hydra—the more dangerous for being composed of individual
mediocrities—is not an enemy to be scorned by any would-be Occultist, courageous
as he may be.
* The Ternarius or Ternary, the Symbol of perfection in antiquity, and the Star, the Cabalistic sign of
the Microcosm.
Page 130
Many of the far more innocent Spiritualists have left their sheepskins in the clutches
of this ever-hungry, roaring lion—for he is the most dangerous of our three classes of
enemies. What will be the fate, in such a case, of an unfortunate Occultist, if he once
succeeds in demonstrating the close relationship existing between the two? The
masses of people, though they do not generally appreciate the science of truth, or
have real knowledge, on the other hand are unerringly directed by mere instinct; they
have intuitionally—if I may be allowed to express myself—the sense of what is
formidable in its genuine strength. People will never conspire except against real
Power. In their blind ignorance, the Mysteries and the Unknown have been, and ever
will be, objects of terror for them. Civilization may progress, human nature will
remain the same throughout all ages. Occultists, beware!
Let it be understood, then, that I address myself but to the truly courageous and
persevering. Besides the danger expressed above, the difficulties to becoming a
practical Occultist in this country, are next to insurmountable. Barrier upon barrier,
obstacles in every form and shape will present themselves to the student; for the Keys
of the Golden Gate leading to the Infinite Truth, lie buried deep, and the gate itself is
enclosed in a mist which clears up only before the ardent rays of implicit Faith. Faith
alone, one grain of which as large as a mustard-seed, according to the words of
Christ, can lift a mountain, is able to find out how simple becomes the Cabala to the
initiate, once that he has succeeded in conquering the first abstruse difficulties. The
dogma of it is logical, easy and absolute. The necessary union of ideas and signs; the
trinity of words, letters, numbers, and theorems; the religion of it can be compressed
into a few words: “It is the Infinite condensed in the hand of an infant,” says Éliphas
Lévi. Ten ciphers, 22 alphabetical letters, one triangle, a square and a circle. Such are
the elements of the Cabala, from whose mysterious bosom sprang all the religions of
the past and present; which endowed all the Free Masonic associations with their
symbols and secrets, which alone can reconcile human reason with God and Faith,
Power with Freedom, Science with Mystery, and which has alone the keys of the
present, past and future.
Page 131
The first difficulty for the aspirant lies in the utter impossibility of his
comprehending, as I said before, the meaning of the best books written by Hermetic
Philosophers. The latter who mainly lived in the mediaeval ages, prompted on the one
hand by their duty towards their brethren, and by their desire to impart to them and
their successors only, the glorious truths, and on the other very naturally desirous to
avoid the clutches of the blood-thirsty Christian Inquisition, enveloped themselves
more than ever in mystery. They invented new signs and hieroglyphs, renovated the
ancient symbolical language of the high-priests of antiquity, who had used it as a
sacred barrier between their holy rites and the ignorance of the profane and created a
veritable Cabalistic slang. This latter, which continually blinded the false neophyte,
attracted towards the science only by his greediness for wealth and power which he
would have surely misused were he to succeed, is a living, eloquent, clear language;
but it is and can become such, only to the true disciple of Hermes.
But were it even otherwise, and could books on Occultism, written in a plain
and precise language, be obtained, in order to get initiated in the Cabala, it would not
be sufficient to understand and meditate on certain authors. Galatinus and Pico della
Mirandola, Paracelsus and Robertus de Fluctibus do not furnish one with the key to
the practical mysteries. They simply state what can be done and why it is done; but
they do not tell one how to do it. More than one philosopher who has by heart the
whole of the Hermetic literature, and who has devoted to the study of it upwards of
thirty or forty years of his life, fails when he believes he is about reaching the final
Page 132
One must understand the Hebrew authors, such as Sepher Yetzîrah, for instance; learn
by heart the great book of the Zohar in its original tongue; master the Kabbalah
Denudata, from the Collection of 1684 (Paris);* follow up the Cabalistic Pneumatics
at first, and then throw oneself headlong into the turbid waters of that mysterious
unintelligible ocean, called the Talmud,† this compilation of “absurd monstrosities”
according to some blind profanes, the final key to all the Hermetists in its dogmatic
and allegorical signs.
Were I to name two of the books, which contain the most of the occult
information which was derived and utilized by the greatest Cabalists of the mediaeval
ages—Paracelsus was one of them—I might astonish many of my correspondents
“craving for knowledge,” and they might let it pass unnoticed. Adepts more learned
than I will nevertheless endorse the truths of my assertion. For prudence sake I prefer
quoting from a book, written by one of our greatest modern Occultists.
“Among the sacred books of the Christians,” says Éliphas Lévi, “there exist two
works, which, strange to say, the Infallible Church does not even pretend to
understand and never tried to explain: the Prophecy of Ezekiel and the Apocalypse;
two Cabalistic treatises, reserved, without doubt, for the commentaries of the Magi
Kings; books closed with the seven seals to the faithful Christian; but perfectly clear
to the Infidel initiated in the Occult Sciences.”
Thus, the works on Occultism were not, I repeat, written for the masses, but for
those of the Brethren who make the solution of the mysteries of the Cabala the
principal object of their lives, and who are supposed to have conquered the first
abstruse difficulties of the Alpha of Hermetic Philosophy.
* [This is the work of Baron Christian Knorr von Rosenroth (1636-89), the first volume of which
was published at Sulzbach, 1677-78, and the second at Frankfurt, 1684. It contains several treatises
of the Zohar translated into Latin and published together with the Hebrew text.—Compiler.]
† Immanuel Deutsch found it otherwise, and in his celebrated Quarterly Review Essay eulogizes the
Talmud as the repository of vast stores of information for the philosophical student, placing it in
certain respects above even the Old Testament itself.—ED., Spiritual Scientist.
Page 133
To fervent and persevering candidates for the above science, I have to offer but
one word of advice, “Try and become.” One single journey to the Orient, made in the
proper spirit, and the possible emergencies arising from the meeting of what may
seem no more than the chance acquaintances and adventures of any traveller, may
quite as likely as not throw wide open to the zealous student, the heretofore closed
doors of the final mysteries. I will go farther and say that such a journey, performed
with the omnipresent idea of the one object, and with the help of a fervent will, is
sure to produce more rapid, better, and far more practical results, than the most
diligent study of Occultism in books—even though one were to devote to it dozens of
years. In the name of Truth,
[Herbert D. Monachesi, one of the original Founders of the T.S., had written an
article entitled “Proselyters from India” which was published in The Sunday Mercury
of New York, October 3rd, 1875, acc. to H.P.B.’s pen and ink notation. In it he
praised the religions of India and China. The article was unsigned, but H.P.B.
identified the author by inserting his name at the end of the cutting pasted in her
Scrapbook, Vol. I, p. 63. She also wrote the following remarks in pen and ink
between the two columns of the article:]
Our original programme is here clearly defined by Herbert Monachesi, F.T.S.,
one of the Founders. The Christian and Scientists must be made to respect their
Indian betters. The Wisdom of India, her philosophy and achievement must be made
known in Europe & America & the English be made to respect the natives of India &
Tibet more than they do.
H. P. B.
Page 134
[Spiritual Scientist, Boston, Vol. III, October 14, 1875, pp. 64-65]
Happening to be on a visit to Ithaca, where spiritual papers in general, and the
Banner of Light in particular, are very little read, but where, luckily, the Scientist has
found hospitality in several houses, I learned through your paper of the intensely
interesting, and very erudite attack in an editorial of the Banner, on “Magic”; or
rather on those who had the absurdity to believe in Magic. As hints concerning
myself—at least in the fragment I see—are very decently veiled, and, as it appears,
Col. Olcott alone, just now, is offered by way of a pious Holocaust on the altar
erected to the angel-world by some Spiritualists, who seem to be terribly in earnest, I
will—leaving the said gentleman to take care of himself, provided he thinks it worth
his trouble—proceed to say a few words only, in reference to the alleged nonexistence
of Magic.
Were I to give anything on my own authority, and base my defence of Magic
only on what I have seen myself, and know to be true in relation to that science, as a
resident of many years’ standing in India and Africa, I might, perhaps, risk to be
called by Mr. Colby—with that unprejudiced, spiritualized politeness, which so
distinguishes the venerable editor of the Banner of Light—“an irresponsible woman”;
and that would not be for the first time either. Therefore, to his astonishing assertion
that no magic whatever either exists or has existed in this world, I will try to find as
good authorities as himself, and maybe, better ones, and thus politely proceed to
contradict him on that particular point.
* [This article was written by H.P.B. as a reply to Mr. Colby who denied in the Banner of Light the
existence of Magic. After the cutting had been pasted in her Scrapbook, Vol. I, pp. 70-71, H.P.B.
made some pen and ink remarks and additions, which are shown herewith in footnotes appended as
indicated by H.P.B. herself.—Compiler.]
Page 135
Heterodox Spiritualists, like myself, must be cautious in our days and proceed
with prudence, if they do not wish to be persecuted with all the untiring vengeance of
that mighty army of “Indian Controls” and “Miscellaneous Guides” of our bright
Summer Land.
When the writer of the editorial says, that “he does not think it at all improbable
that there are humbugging spirits who try to fool certain aspirants to Occult
knowledge, with the notion that there is such a thing as magic”(?) then, on the other
hand, I can answer him that I, for one, not only think it probable, but I am perfectly
sure, and can take my oath to the certainty, that more than once, spirits, who were
either elementary or very unprogressed ones, calling themselves Theodore Parker,
have been most decidedly fooling and disrespectfully humbugging our most esteemed
Editor of the Banner of Light into the notion that the Apennines were in Spain, for
Furthermore, supported in my assertions by thousands of intelligent Spiritualists,
generally known for their integrity and truthfulness, I could furnish numberless
proofs and instances where the Elementary Diakka, Esprits malins et farfadets, and
other such-like unreliable and ignorant denizens of the spirit-world, arraying
themselves in pompous, world-known and famous names, suddenly gave the
bewildered witnesses such deplorable, unheard-of, slip-slop trash, and betimes
something worse, that more than one person who, previous to that, was an earnest
believer in the spiritual philosophy, has either silently taken to his heels; or, if he
happened to have been formerly a Roman Catholic, has devoutly tried to recall to
memory with which hand he used to cross himself, and then cleared out with the most
fervent exclamation of Vade retro, Satanas! Such is the opinion of every educated
If that indomitable Attila, the persecutor of modern Spiritualism, and mediums,
Dr. G. Beard, had offered such a remark against Magic, I would not wonder, as a too
profound devotion to blue pill and black draught is generally considered the best
antidote against mystic and spiritual speculations; but for a firm Spiritualist, a
believer in invisible, mysterious worlds, swarming with beings, the true nature of
which is still an unriddled mystery to everyone—to step in and then sarcastically
reject that which has been proved to exist and believed in for countless ages by
millions of persons, wiser than himself, is too audacious!
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And that skeptic is the editor of a leading Spiritual paper! A man, whose first duty
should be, to help his readers to seek—untiringly and perseveringly—for the TRUTH
in whatever form it might present itself; but who takes the risk of dragging thousands
of people into error, by pinning them to his personal rose-water faith and credulity.
Every serious, earnest-minded Spiritualist must agree with me, in saying, that if
modern Spiritualism remains, for a few years only, in its present condition of chaotic
anarchy, or still worse, if it is allowed to run its mad course, shooting forth on all
sides, idle hypotheses based on superstitious, groundless ideas, then will the Dr.
Beards, Dr. Marvins, and others, known as scientific (?) skeptics, triumph indeed.
Really, it seems to be a waste of time to answer such ridiculous, ignorant
assertions as the one which forced me to take up my pen. Any well-read Spiritualist,
who finds the statement “that there ever was such a science as magic, has never been
proved, nor ever will be,” will need no answer from myself, nor anyone else, to cause
him to shrug his shoulders and smile, as he probably has smiled, at the wonderful
attempt of Mr. Colby’s spirits to reorganize geography by placing the Apennines in
Why, man alive, did you never open a book in your life, besides your own
records of Tom, Dick and Harry descending from upper spheres to remind their Uncle
Sam that he had torn his gaiters or broken his pipe in the Far West?
Did you suppose that Magic is confined to witches riding astride broomsticks
and then turning themselves into black cats? Even the latter superstitious trash,
though it was never called Magic, but Sorcery, does not appear so great an absurdity
for one to accept, who firmly believes in the transfiguration of Mrs. Compton* into
Katie Brinks. The laws of nature are unchangeable.
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The conditions under which a medium can be transformed, entirely absorbed in the
process by the spirit, into the semblance of another person, will hold good whenever
that spirit or rather force should have a fancy to take the form of a cat.
The exercise of magical power is the exercise of natural powers, but
SUPERIOR to the ordinary functions of Nature. A miracle is not a violation of the
laws of Nature, except for ignorant people. Magic is but a science, a profound
knowledge of the Occult forces in Nature, and of the laws governing the visible or the
invisible world. Spiritualism in the hands of an adept becomes Magic, for he is
learned in the art of blending together the laws of the Universe, without breaking any
of them and thereby violating Nature. In the hands of an experienced medium,
Spiritualism becomes UNCONSCIOUS SORCERY; for, by allowing himself to
become the helpless tool of a variety of spirits, of whom he knows nothing save what
the latter permit him to know, he opens, unknown to himself, a door of
communication between the two worlds, through which emerge the blind forces of
Nature lurking in the astral light, as well as good and bad spirits.
A powerful mesmerizer, profoundly learned in his science, such as Baron Du
Potet, Regazzoni, Pietro d’Amicis of Bologna, are magicians, for they have become
the adepts, the initiated ones, into the great mystery of our Mother Nature. Such men
as the above-mentioned—and such were Mesmer and Cagliostro—control the spirits
instead of allowing their subjects or themselves to be controlled by them; and
Spiritualism is safe in their hands. In the absence of experienced Adepts though, it is
always safer for a naturally clairvoyant medium to trust to good luck and chance, and
try to judge of the tree by its fruits. Bad spirits will seldom communicate through a
pure, naturally good and virtuous person; and it is still more seldom that pure spirits
will choose impure channels. Like attracts like.
* [In her Scrapbook, Vol. I, p. 32, H.P.B. added the following remarks to a cutting describing
séances with Mrs. Compton:
This Mrs. Compton is a real wonderful medium. She is a true electric battery worked by the
Page 138
But to return to Magic. Such men as Albertus Magnus, Raymond Lully,
Cornelius Agrippa, Paracelsus, Robert Fludd, Eugenius Philalethes, Khunrath, Roger
Bacon and others of similar character, in our skeptical century, are generally taken for
visionaries; but so, too, are Modern Spiritualists and mediums—nay worse, for
charlatans and poltroons; but never were the Hermetic Philosophers taken by anyone
for fools and idiots, as, unfortunately for ourselves and the Cause, every unbeliever
takes ALL of us believers in Spiritualism to be. Those Hermeticists and philosophers
may be disbelieved and doubted now, as everything else is doubted, but very few
doubted their knowledge and power during their lifetime, for they always could prove
what they claimed, having command over those forces which now command helpless
mediums. They had their science and demonstrated philosophy to help them to throw
down ridiculous negations, while we sentimental Spiritualists, rocking ourselves to
sleep with our “Sweet By-and-By,” are unable to recognize a spurious phenomenon
from a genuine one, and are daily deceived by vile charlatans. Even though doubted
then, as Spiritualism is in our day, still these philosophers were held in awe and
reverence, even by those who did not implicitly believe in their Occult potency, for
they were giants of intellect. Profound knowledge, as well as cultured intellectual
powers, will always be respected and revered; but our mediums and their adherents
are laughed and scorned at, and we are all made to suffer, because the phenomena are
left to the whims and pranks of self-willed and other mischievous spirits, and we are
utterly powerless in controlling them.
To doubt Magic is to reject History itself as well as the testimony of ocular
witnesses thereof, during a period embracing over 4,000 years. Beginning with
Homer, Moses, Hermes, Herodotus, Cicero, Plutarch, Pythagoras, Apollonius of
Tyana, Simon the Magician, Plato, Pausanias, Iamblichus, and following this endless
string of great men, historians and philosophers, who all of them either believed in
magic or were magicians themselves, and ending with our modern authors, such as
W. Howitt, Ennemoser, H. R. Gougenot des Mousseaux, Marquis de Mirville and the
late Éliphas Lévi, who was a magician himself—among all these great names and
authors, we find but the solitary Mr. Colby, Editor of the Banner of Light, who
ignores that there ever was such a science as Magic.
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He innocently believes the whole of the sacred army of Bible prophets, commencing
with Father Abraham, including Christ, to be merely mediums; in the eyes of Mr.
Colby they were all of them acting under control! Fancy Christ, Moses, or an
Apollonius of Tyana, controlled by an Indian guide!! The venerable editor ignores,
perhaps, that spiritual mediums were better known in those days to the ancients, than
they are now to us, and he seems to be equally unaware of the fact that the inspired
Sibyls, Pythonesses, and other mediums, were entirely guided by their High Priest
and those who were initiated into the Esoteric Theurgy and mysteries of the Temples.
Theurgy was magic; as in modern times, the Sibyls and Pythonesses WERE
MEDIUMS; but their High Priests were magicians. All the secrets of their theology,
which included magic, or the art of invoking ministering spirits, were in their hands.
They possessed the science of DISCERNING SPIRITS; a science which Mr. Colby
does not possess at all—to his great regret no doubt. By this power they controlled
the spirits at will, allowing but the good ones to absorb their mediums. Such is the
explanation of magic—the real, existing, White or sacred magic, which ought to be in
the hands of science now, and would be, if science had profited by the lessons which
Spiritualism has inductively taught for these last twenty-seven years.
That is the reason why no trash was allowed to be given by unprogressed spirits
in the days of old. The oracles of the sibyls and inspired priestesses could never have
affirmed Athens to be a town in India, or jumped Mount Ararat from its native place
down to Egypt.
Page 140
If the skeptical writer of the editorial had, moreover, devoted less time to little
prattling Indian spirits and more to profitable lectures, he might have learned perhaps
at the same time, that the ancients had their illegal mediums—I mean those who
belonged to no special Temple, and thus the spirits controlling them, unchecked by
the expert hand of the magician, were left to themselves, and had all the opportunity
possible to perform their capers on their helpless tools; that such mediums were
generally considered obsessed and possessed, which they were in fact; in other
words, and according to the Bible phraseology, “they had the seven devils in them.”
Furthermore, these mediums were ordered to be put to death, for the intolerant
Moses, the magician, who was learned in the wisdom of Egypt, had said, “Thou shalt
not suffer a witch to live.”* Alone, the Egyptians and Greeks, even more humane and
just than Moses, took such into their Temples, and when found unfit for sacred duties
of prophecy [they] were cured, in the same way as Jesus Christ cured Mary of
Magdala and many others, by “casting out the seven devils.” Either Mr. Colby and
Co. must completely deny the miracles of Christ,† the Apostles, Prophets,
Thaumaturgists, and Magicians, and so deny point-blank every bit of the sacred and
profane histories, or he must confess that there is a POWER in this world which can
command spirits, at least the bad and unprogressed ones, the elementary and Diakka.
The pure ones, the disembodied, will never descend to our sphere, unless attracted by
a current of powerful sympathy and love, or on some useful mission.
Far from me the thought of casting odium and ridicule on our‡ medium. I
am†† myself a Spiritualist, if, as says Colonel Olcott, a firm belief in our souls‡‡
immortality and the knowledge of a constant possibility for us to communicate with
the spirits of our departed and loved ones, either through honest, pure mediums, or by
means of the Secret Science, constitutes a Spiritualist. But§ I am not of those
fanatical Spiritualists,
* [Exodus, 5. xxii. 18.]
† if he ever lived—which is more than doubtful.
‡ [Corrected to “all.”]
†† [Corr. to “am not.”]
‡‡ [Corrected to “spirits.”]
§ [Corrected to “And.”]
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to be found in every country, who blindly accept the claims of every spirit,* for I
have seen too much of various phenomena, undreamed of in America. I know that
MAGIC does exist, and 10,000 editors of Spiritual papers cannot change my belief in
what I know. There is a white and a black magic; and no one who has ever travelled
in the East, can doubt it, if he has taken the trouble to investigate. My faith being firm
I am, therefore, ever ready to support and protect any honest medium—aye, and even
occasionally one who appears dishonest; for I know but too well, what helpless tools
and victims such mediums are in the hands of unprogressed, invisible beings. I am
furthermore aware of the malice and wickedness of the elementary, and how far they
can inspire not only a sensitive medium, but any other person as well. Though I may
be an “irresponsible woman” in the eyes of those who are but “too responsible” for
the harm they do to EARNEST Spiritualists by their unfairness, one-sidedness, and
spiritual sentimentalism, I feel safe to say, that generally I am quick enough to detect
whenever a medium is cheating under control, or cheating consciously.
Thus magic exists and has existed ever since prehistoric ages. Begun in history
with the Samathracian mysteries, it followed its course uninterruptedly, and ended for
a time with the expiring theurgic rites and ceremonies of christianized Greece; then
reappeared for a time again with the Neo-Platonic, Alexandrian school, and passing,
by initiation, to sundry solitary students and philosophers, safely crossed the
mediaeval ages, and notwithstanding the furious persecutions of the Church, resumed
its fame in the hands of such adepts as Paracelsus and several others, and finally died
out in Europe with the Count de St.-Germain and Cagliostro, to seek refuge from the
frozen-hearted skepticism in its native country of the East.
* [Enclosed in quotes: “spirit.”]
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In India, magic has never died out, and blossoms there as well as ever. Practised,
as in ancient Egypt, only within the secret enclosure of the Temples, it was, and still
is, called the “sacred science.” For it is a science, based on natural occult forces of
Nature; and not merely a blind belief in the poll-parrot talking of crafty, elementary
ones, ready to forcibly prevent real, disembodied spirits from communicating with
their loved ones whenever they can do so.
Some time since, a Mr. Mendenhall devoted several columns in the Religio-
Philosophical Journal, to questioning, cross-examining, and criticizing the mysterious
Brotherhood of Luxor. He made a fruitless attempt at forcing the said Brotherhood to
answer him, and thus unveil the sphinx. I can satisfy Mr. Mendenhall. The
BROTHERHOOD OF LUXOR is one of the sections of the Grand Lodge of which I
am a member. If this gentleman entertains any doubt as to my statement—which I
have no doubt he will—he can, if he chooses, write to Lahore for information. If
perchance, the Seven of the Committee were so rude as not to answer him, and would
refuse to give him the desired information, I can then offer him a little business
transaction. Mr. Mendenhall, as far as I remember, has two wives in the spirit world.
Both of these ladies materialize at M. Mott’s, and often hold very long conversations
with their husband, as the latter told us of several times, and over his own signature;
adding, moreover, that he had no doubt whatever of the identity of the said spirits. If
so, let one of the departed ladies tell Mr. Mendenhall the name of that section of the
Grand Lodge I belong to. For real, genuine, disembodied spirits, if both are what they
claim to be, the matter is more than easy; they have but to enquire of other spirits,
look into my thoughts, and so on; for a disembodied entity, an immortal spirit, it is
the easiest thing in the world to do. Then, if the gentleman I challenge, though I am
deprived of the pleasure of his acquaintance, tells me the true name of the section—
which name three gentlemen in New York, who are accepted neophytes of our Lodge,
know well—I pledge myself to give to Mr. Mendenhall the true statement concerning
the Brotherhood, which is not composed of spirits, as he may think, but of living
mortals, and I will,
Page 143
moreover, if he desires to, put him in direct communication with the Lodge as I have
done for others. *Methinks, Mr. Mendenhall will answer that no such name can be
given correctly by the spirits, for no such Lodge or either Section exists at all, and
thus close the discussion.
[In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. I, p. 67, there is a cutting from the Spiritual
Scientist of October 21, 1875, which deals with remarks made by a certain Dr. G.
Bloede, who went to the trouble of warning people against the newly-formed
Theosophical Society and the work of Mrs. Emma Hardinge-Britten entitled Art
Magic, as enemies of Spiritualism. H.P.B. appended in pen and ink the following
side-remark :]
And now I am accused by Dr. Bloede, an ardent Spiritualist, of being the paid
tool of the Jesuits to pull down Spiritualism!!!
[Spiritual Scientist, Boston, Vol. III, November 4, 1875, p. 104]
To the Editor of the Spiritual Scientist:
Sir,—In my country, and in every other recognized as civilized, except America,
a man who defames and slanders a woman innocent of crime, however humble she
may be, is condemned as a coward. What should European gentle, men think of
American manhood, when they read in the Spiritualist journals of the United States,
such false, cowardly and unmannerly assaults upon a foreign-born lady, a life-long
Spiritualist, and NOT A PROFESSIONAL MEDIUM, as those against myself, which
have recently appeared?
* [H.P.B. added on the margin:
And so he did and—abused me in a vile way in the papers for my offer. The Spirits proved to be
It is most likely, however, that this refers to the last sentence of the article.—Compiler.]
Page 144
My great offences are, that I have told the truth, but not all the truth, about certain
dishonourable persons, who taint the name of American Spiritualism, by association
with it; and given a very imperfect glimpse of the wonders of Magic, which, in
common with a hundred other travellers, I have been made acquainted with in the
course of extended travels through the East. These malicious assaults upon my
reputation, harm only those who have attacked me; for my antecedents are too well
known to require a formal defence at my hands. But I blush as a Spiritualist for the
impression which they must inevitably produce, as to the ribaldry and licence
permissible in American journalism towards a woman. If it can bear the opprobrium I
have nothing to say.
Meanwhile, as answer to numerous questions and criticisms, I send you the
following translation of a chapter from one of Lévi’s books.
[Spiritual Scientist, Boston, Vol. III, November 4,1875, pp. 104-5]
We have already said that in the Astral Light the images of persons and things
are preserved. It is also in this light that can be evoked the forms of those who are no
longer in our world, and it is by its means that are effected the mysteries of
necromancy which are as real as they are denied.
The Cabalists, who have spoken of the spirit-world, have simply related what
they have seen in their evocations.
Eliphas Lévi Zahed (these Hebrew names translated are: Alphonse-Louis
Constant), who writes this book, has evoked and he has seen.
* [Chapter XIII in his Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie, pp. 276-92 in the 6th edition. Paris.
Page 145
Let us first tell what the masters have written of their visions or intuitions in what
they call the light of glory.
We read in the Hebrew book, The Revolution of the Souls,* that there are souls
of three kinds: the daughters of Adam, the daughters of the angels, and the daughters
of sin. There are also, according to the same book, three kinds of spirits: captive
spirits, wandering spirits, and free spirits. Souls are sent in couples. There are,
however, souls of men which are born single, and whose mates are held captive by
Lilith and Naemah, the queens of Strygis;† these are the souls which have to make
future expiations for their rashness, in assuming a vow of celibacy. For example,
when a man renounces from childhood the love of woman, he makes the spouse who
was destined for him the slave of the demons of lust. Souls grow and multiply in
heaven as well as bodies upon earth. The immaculate souls are the offspring of the
union of the angels.
Nothing can enter into Heaven, except that which is of Heaven. After death,
then, the divine spirit which animated the man, returns alone to Heaven, and leaves
upon earth and in the atmosphere two corpses. One, terrestrial and elementary; the
other, aerial and sidereal; the one lifeless already, the other still animated by the
universal movement of the soul of the world (Astral light), but destined to die
gradually, absorbed by the astral powers which produced it. The earthly corpse is
visible: the other is invisible to the eyes of the terrestrial and living body, and cannot
be perceived except by the influences of the astral or translucid light, which
communicates its impressions to the nervous system, and thus affects the organ of
sight, so as to make it see the forms which are preserved, and the words which are
written in the book of vital life.
When a man has lived well, the astral corpse or spirit evaporates like a pure
incense, as it mounts towards the higher regions; but if a man has lived in crime, his
astral body, which holds him prisoner, seeks again the objects of passions, and desires
to resume its course of life. It torments the dreams of young girls, bathes in the steam
of spilt blood, and hovers about the places where the pleasures of its life flitted by; it
watches continually over the treasures which it possessed and concealed; it exhausts
itself in unhappy efforts to make for itself material organs and live evermore. But the
stars attract and absorb it; it feels its intelligence weakening, its memory is gradually
lost, all its being dissolves . . . its old vices appear to it as incarnations,
* [Reference here is to Isaac ben Solomon Loria’s Commentarius in librum Zeniutha. Tractatus de
revolutionibus animarum, which may be found in the second volume of Knorr von Rosenroth’s
Kabbala Denudata, etc.; the first volume of this work appeared at Sulzbach in 1677-78, and the
second at Frankfurt a. M. in 1684.—Compiler.]
† A word applied by the Valaginians and Orientals to a certain kind of unprogressed elementary
spirits.—Ed. [H.P.B.]
Page 146
and pursue it under monstrous shapes; they attack and devour. . . . The unhappy
wretch thus loses successively all the members which served its sinful appetites; then
it dies a second time and for ever, because it then loses its personality and its
memory. Souls, which are destined to live, but which are not yet entirely purified,
remain for a longer or shorter time captives in the Astral body, where they are refined
by the odic light which seeks to assimilate them to itself and dissolve. It is to rid
themselves of this body that suffering souls sometimes enter the bodies of living
persons, and remain there for a while in a state which the Cabalists call Embryonic.
These are the aerial phantoms evoked by necromancy. These are the larvae,
substances dead or dying, with which one places himself en rapport; ordinarily they
cannot speak except by the ringing in our ears, produced by the nervous quivering of
which I have spoken, and usually reasoning only as they reflect upon our thoughts or
But to see these strange forms one must put himself in an exceptional condition,
partaking at once of sleep and death; that is to say, one must magnetize himself and
reach a kind of lucid and wakeful somnambulism. Necromancy, then, obtains real
results, and the evocations of magic are capable of producing veritable apparitions.
We have said that in the great magical agent, which is the Astral light, are preserved
all the impressions of things, all the images formed, either by their rays or by their
reflections; it is in this light that our dreams appear to us, it is this light which
intoxicates the insane and sweeps away their enfeebled judgment into the pursuit of
the most fantastic phantoms. To see without illusions in this light it is necessary to
push aside the reflections by a powerful effort of the will, and draw to oneself only
the rays. To dream waking is to see in the Astral light; and the orgies of the witches’
Sabbath, described by so many sorcerers upon their criminal trials, do not present
themselves to them in any other manner. Often the preparations and the substances
employed to arrive at this result were horrible, as we have seen in the chapters
devoted to the ritual; but the results were never doubtful. Things of the most
abominable, fantastic, and impossible description were seen, heard, and touched. . . .
In the Spring of the year 1854, I went to London to escape from certain family
troubles and give myself up, without interruption, to science. I had introductory
letters to eminent persons interested in supernatural manifestations. I saw several, and
found in them, combined with much politeness, a great deal of indifference or
frivolity. Immediately they demanded of me miracles, as they would of a charlatan. I
was a little discouraged, for to tell the truth, far from being disposed to initiate others
into the mysteries of ceremonial magic, I had always dreaded for myself the illusions
and fatigues thereof; besides, these ceremonies demand materials at once expensive
and hard to collect together. I, therefore, buried myself in the study of the High
Cabala, and thought no more of the English adepts until one day, upon entering my
lodging, I found a note with my address.
Page 147
This note contained the half of a card, cut in two, and upon which I recognized, at
once, the character of Solomon’s Seal and a very small bit of paper I upon which was
written in pencil: “Tomorrow, at three o’clock, before Westminster Abbey, the other
half of this card will be presented you.” I went to this singular rendezvous. A carriage
was standing at the place. I held in my hand, with seeming indifference, my half of
the card; a servant approached, and opening the carriage door, made me a sign. In the
carriage was a lady in black whose bonnet was covered with a very thick veil; she
beckoned to me to take a seat beside her, at the same time showing me the other half
of the card which I had received. The footman closed the door, the carriage rolled
away; and the lady having raised her veil I perceived a person whose eyes were
sparkling and extremely piercing in expression. “Sir,” said she to me, with a very
strong English accent, “I know that the law of secrecy is very rigorous among adepts;
a friend of Sir Bulwer Lytton, who has seen you, knows that experiments have been
requested of you, and that you have refused to satisfy their curiosity. Perhaps you
have not the necessary things: I wish to show you a complete magic cabinet; but I
demand of you in advance the most inviolable secrecy. If you do not give this
promise upon your honor I shall order the coachman to reconduct you to your house.”
I promised what was required, and I show my fidelity in mentioning neither the name
the quality, nor the residence of this lady, whom I soon recognized as an initiate, not
precisely of the first degree, but of a very high one. We had several long
conversations, in the course of which she constantly insisted upon the necessity of
practical experiments to complete initiation. She showed me a collection of magical
robes and instruments, even lent me some curious books that I needed; in short, she
decided to try at her house the experiment of a complete evocation, for which I
prepared myself during twenty-one days, by scrupulously observing the practices
indicated in the XIIIth chapter of the “Ritual.”
All was ready by the 24th of July; our purpose was to evoke the phantom of the
Divine Apollonius and interrogate him as to two secrets, of which one concerned
myself, and the other interested this lady. She had at first intended to assist at the
evocation, with an intimate friend; but at the last moment, this lady’s courage failed,
and, as three persons, or one, are strictly required for magical rites, I was left alone.
The cabinet prepared for the evocation was arranged in the small tower, four concave
mirrors were properly disposed, and there was a sort of altar, whose white marble top
was surrounded by a chain of magnetized iron. Upon the white marble was chiselled
and gilded the sign of the pentagram; and the same sign was traced in different colors
upon a fresh white lambskin, which was spread under the altar. In the centre of the
marble slab, there was a little brazier of copper, containing charcoal of elm and laurel
Page 148
another brazier was placed before me, on a tripod. I was clothed in a white robe,
something like those used by our Catholic priests, but longer and more full, and I
wore upon my head a crown of verbena leaves interwoven in a golden chain. In one
hand I held a naked sword, and in another the Ritual. I lighted the two fires, with the
substances requisite and prepared, and I began at first in a low voice, then louder by
degrees, the invocations of the Ritual. The smoke spread, the flame flickered and
made to dance all the objects it lighted, then went out. The smoke rose white and
slow from the marble altar. It seemed as if I had detected a slight shock of
earthquake, my ears rang and my heart beat rapidly. I added some twigs and perfumes
to the braziers, and when the flame rose, I saw distinctly, before the altar, a human
figure, larger than life size, which decomposed and melted away. I recommenced the
evocations, and placed myself in a circle which I had traced in advance of the
ceremony between the altar and the tripod; I saw then the disc of the mirror facing
me, and which was behind the altar becoming illuminated by degrees, and a whitish
form there developed itself, enlarging and seeming to approach, little by little. I called
three times upon Apollonius, at the same time closing my eyes; and, when I reopened
them a man was before me, completely enveloped in a shroud, which seemed
to me rather gray than white; his face was thin, sad and beardless, which did not seem
to convey to me the idea which I had previously formed of Apollonius. I experienced
a sensation of extraordinary cold, and when I opened my mouth to question the
phantom, it was impossible for me to articulate a sound. I then put my hand upon the
sign of the Pentagram, and I directed towards him the point of the sword,
commanding him mentally by that sign, not to frighten me but to obey. Then the form
became confused, and suddenly disappeared. I commanded it to reappear; upon
which I felt it pass near me, like a breath, and something having touched the hand
which touched the sword, I felt my arm instantly stiffened, as far as the shoulder. I
thought I understood that this sword offended the spirit, and I planted it by the point
in the circle near me. The human figure then re-appeared, but I felt such a weakness
in my limbs, and such exhaustion seize hold of me, that I took a couple of steps to
seat myself. As soon as I was in my chair, I fell into a profound slumber,
accompanied by dreams, of which, upon returning to myself, I had only a vague and
confused remembrance. For several days my arm was stiff and painful. The
apparition had not spoken to me, but it seemed that the questions which I wished to
ask it, answered themselves in my mind. To that of the lady, an interior voice replied
in me, “Dead!” (it concerned a man of whom she wished to have some intelligence).
As to myself I wished to know, if reconciliation and pardon would be possible
between two persons, of whom I thought, and the same interior echo pitilessly
answered, “Dead!”
Page 149
I relate these facts exactly as they happened, not forcing them upon the faith of
any one. The effect of this first experiment upon me, was something inexplicable. I
was no longer the same man. . . .
I twice repeated in the course of a few days, the same experiment. The result of
these two other evocations, was to reveal to me two cabalistic secrets, which might, if
they were known by everyone, change in a short time the foundations and laws of the
whole society. . . . I will not explain by what physiological laws, I saw and touched; I
simply assert, that I did see and touch, that I saw clearly and distinctly, without
dreaming, and that is enough to prove the efficacy of magic ceremonies. . . .
I will not close this chapter without noticing the curious belief of certain
Cabalists, who distinguish apparent from real death, and think that they seldom occur
simultaneously. According to their story, the greatest part of persons buried are alive,
and many others, whom we think living, are, in fact, dead. Incurable insanity, for
instance, would be, according to them, an incomplete but real death, which leaves the
earthly body under the exclusive instinctive control of the astral or sidereal body.
When the human soul experiences a shock too violent for it to bear, it would separate
itself from the body and leave in its place the animal soul, or in other words, the astral
body, which makes of human wreck something in one sense less living than even an
animal. Dead persons of this kind can be easily recognized by the complete extinction
of the affectional and moral senses; they are not bad, they are not good; they are dead.
These beings, who are the poisonous mushrooms of the human species, absorb as
much as they can the vitality of the living; that is why their approach paralyzes the
soul, and sends a chill to the heart. These corpse-like beings prove all that has ever
been said of the vampires, those dreadful creatures who rise at night and suck the
blood from the healthy bodies of sleeping persons. Are there not some beings in
whose presence one feels less intelligent, less good, often even less honest? Does not
their approach quench all faith and enthusiasm, and do they not bind you to them by
your weaknesses, and slave you by your evil inclinations, and make you gradually
lose all moral sense in a constant torture?
These are the dead whom we take for the living persons; these are the vampires
whom we mistake for friends!
So little is known in modern times of Ancient Magic, its meaning, history,
capabilities, literature, adepts and results, that I cannot allow what precedes to go out,
without a few words of explanation. The ceremonies and paraphernalia so minutely
described by Lévi, are calculated and were intended to deceive the superficial reader.
Page 150
Forced by an irresistible impulse to write what he knew, but fearing to be dangerously
explicit, in this instance, as everywhere throughout his works, he magnifies
unimportant details and slurs over things of greater moment. True, Oriental Cabalists
need no preparation, no costumes, apparatus, coronets or war-like weapons: these
appertain to the Jewish Cabala, which bears the same relation to its simple Chaldaean
prototype as the ceremonious observances of the Romish Church to the simple
worship of Christ and his apostles. In the hands of the true adept of the East, a simple
wand of bamboo with seven joints, supplemented by their ineffable wisdom and
indomitable will-power, suffices to evoke spirits and produce the miracles
authenticated by the testimony of a cloud of unprejudiced witnesses. At this séance of
Lévi’s, upon the reappearance of the phantom, the daring investigator saw and heard
things, which in his account of the first trial, are wholly suppressed, and in that of the
others merely hinted at. I know this from authorities which cannot be questioned.
Suppose that the criticasters of the “Banner” and the “ir-Religio,” who, every
week, occupy themselves with shooting off their little pop-guns at the Elementary
Spirits evoked in their literature by Colonel Olcott and myself, should try their hand
at some of the simplest ceremonies given to neophytes, to sharpen their wisdom-teeth
upon, before undertaking to amuse and instruct the world with their wit and wisdom.
Shoot away, good friends, you amuse yourselves and hurt nobody else.
[A copy of the Preamble and By-Laws of The Theosophical Society is pasted in
H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. I, pp. 77-79. On top of the first column, above the title,
H.P.B. wrote in blue pencil :]
The Child is
Page 151
[Spiritual Scientist, Vol. III, November 25, 1875, pp. 133-35]
The circumstances attending the sudden death of M. Delessert, inspector of the
Police de Sûreté, seems to have made such an impression upon the Parisian
authorities that they were recorded in unusual detail. Omitting all particulars except
what are necessary to explain matters, we reproduce here the undoubtedly strange
In the fall of 1861 there came to Paris a man who called himself Vic de Lassa,
and was so inscribed upon his passport. He came from Vienna, and said he was a
Hungarian, who owned estates on the borders of the Banat, not far from Zenta. He
was a small man, aged thirty-five, with pale and mysterious face, long blonde hair, a
vague, wandering blue eye, and a mouth of singular firmness. He dressed carelessly
and ineffectively, and spoke and talked without much empressement. His companion,
presumably his wife, on the other hand, ten years younger than himself, was a
strikingly beautiful woman, of that dark, rich, velvety, luscious, pure Hungarian type
which is so nigh akin to the gipsy blood. At the theatres, on the Bois, at the cafés, on
the boulevards, and everywhere that idle Paris disports itself, Madame Aimée de
Lassa attracted great attention and made a sensation.
They lodged in luxurious apartments on the Rue Richelieu, frequented the best
places, received good company, entertained handsomely, and acted in every way as if
possessed of considerable wealth. Lassa had always a good balance chez Schneider,
Reuter et Cie., the Austrian Bankers in Rue de Rivoli, and wore diamonds of
conspicuous lustre.
How did it happen then, that the Prefect of Police saw fit to suspect Monsieur
and Madame de Lassa, and detailed Paul Delessert, one of the most rusé inspectors of
the force, to “pipe” him? The fact is, the insignificant man with the splendid wife was
a very mysterious personage, and it is the habit of the police to imagine that mystery
always hides either the conspirator, the adventurer, or the charlatan.
Page 152
The conclusion to which the Prefect had come in regard to M. de Lassa was that he
was an adventurer and charlatan too. Certainly a successful one, then, for he was
singularly unobtrusive and had in no way trumpeted the wonders which it was his
mission to perform, yet in a few weeks after he had established himself in Paris the
salon of M. de Lassa was the rage, and the number of persons who paid the fee of 100
francs for a single peep into his magic crystal, and a single message by his spiritual
telegraph, was really astonishing. The secret of this was that M. de Lassa was a
conjurer and diviner, whose pretensions were omniscient and whose predictions
always came true.
Delessert did not find it very difficult to get an introduction and admission to de
Lassa’s salon. The receptions occurred every other day—two hours in the forenoon,
three hours in the evening. It was evening when Inspector Delessert called in his
assumed character of M. Flabry, virtuoso in jewels and a convert to Spiritualism. He
found the handsome parlors brilliantly lighted, and a charming assemblage gathered
of well-pleased guests, who did not at all seem to have come to learn their fortunes or
fates, while contributing to the income of their host, but rather to be there out of
complaisance to his virtues and gifts.
Mme. de Lassa performed upon the piano or conversed from group to group in
a way that seemed to be delightful, while M. de Lassa walked about or sat in his
insignificant, unconcerned way, saying a word now and then, but seeming to shun
everything that was conspicuous. Servants handed about refreshments, ices, cordials,
wines, etc., and Delessert could have fancied himself [to have] dropped in upon a
quite modest evening entertainment, altogether en règle, but for one or two noticeable
circumstances which his observant eyes quickly took in.
Except when their host or hostess was within hearing, the guests conversed
together in low tones, rather mysteriously, and with not quite so much laughter as is
usual on such occasions. At intervals a very tall and dignified footman would come to
a guest, and, with a profound bow, present him a card on a silver salver.
Page 153
The guest would then go out, preceded by the solemn servant, but when he or she
returned to the salon—some did not return at all—they invariably wore a dazed or
puzzled look, were confused, astonished, frightened, or amused. All this was so
unmistakably genuine, and de Lassa and his wife seemed so unconcerned amidst it
all, not to say distinct from it all, that Delessert could not avoid being forcibly struck
and considerably puzzled.
Two or three little incidents, which came under Delessert’s own immediate
observation, will suffice to make plain the character of the impressions made upon
those present. A couple of gentlemen, both young, both of good social condition, and
evidently very intimate friends, were conversing together and tutoying one another at
a great rate, when the dignified footman summoned Alphonse. He laughed gaily.
“Tarry a moment, cher Auguste,” said he, “and thou shalt know all the particulars of
this wonderful fortune!” “Eh bien!” responded Auguste, “may the oracle’s mood be
propitious!” A minute had scarcely elapsed when Alphonse returned to the salon. His
face was white and bore an appearance of concentrated rage that was frightful to
witness. He came straight to Auguste, his eyes flashing, and bending his face toward
his friend, who changed colour and recoiled, he hissed out, “Monsieur Lefébure, vous
êtes un lâche!” “Very well, Monsieur Meunier,” responded Auguste, in the same low
tone, “to-morrow morning at six o’clock!” “It is settled, false friend, execrable
traitor! À la mort!” rejoined Alphonse, walking off. “Cela va sans dire!” muttered
Auguste, going towards the hat-room.
A diplomatist of distinction, representative at Paris of a neighboring state, an
elderly gentleman of superb aplomb and most commanding appearance, was
summoned to the oracle by the bowing footman. After being absent about five
minutes he returned, and immediately made his way through the press to M. de Lassa,
who was standing not far from the fireplace, with his hands in his pockets, and a look
of utmost indifference upon his face. Delessert standing near, watched the interview
with eager interest.
Page 154
“I am exceedingly sorry,” said General Von—,“to have to absent myself so soon from
your interesting salon, M. de Lassa, but the result of my séance convinces me that my
dispatches have been tampered with.” “I am sorry,” responded M. de Lassa, with an
air of languid but courteous interest, “I hope you may be able to discover which of
your servants has been unfaithful.” “I am going to do that now,” said the General,
adding, in significant tones, “I shall see that both he and his accomplices do not
escape severe punishment.” “That is the only course to pursue, Monsieur le Comte.”
The ambassador stared, bowed, and took his leave with a bewilderment on his face
that was beyond the power of his tact to control.
In the course of the evening M. de Lassa went carelessly to the piano, and, after
some indifferent vague preluding, played a remarkably effective piece of music, in
which the turbulent life and buoyancy of bacchanalian strains melted gently, almost
imperceptibly away, into a sobbing wail of regret and languor, and weariness and
despair. It was beautifully rendered, and made a great impression upon the guests,
one of whom, a lady, cried, “How lovely, how sad! Did you compose that yourself,
M. de Lassa?” He looked towards her absently for an instant, then replied: “I? Oh,
no! That is merely a reminiscence, madame.” “Do you know who did compose it, M.
de Lassa?” enquired a virtuoso present. “I believe it was originally written by
Ptolemy Auletes, the father of Cleopatra,” said M. de Lassa, in his indifferent, musing
way, “but not in its present form. It has been twice re-written to my knowledge; still,
the air is substantially the same.” “From whom did you get it, M. de Lassa, if I may
ask?” persisted the gentleman. “Certainly! certainly! The last time I heard it played
was by Sebastian Bach; but that was Palestrina’s—the present—version. I think I
prefer that of Guido of Arezzo—it is ruder, but has more force. I got the air from
Guido himself.” “You—from—Guido!” cried the astonished gentleman, “Yes,
monsieur,” answered de Lassa, rising from the piano with his usual indifferent air.
“Mon Dieu!” cried the virtuoso, putting his hand to his head after the manner of Mr.
Twemlow, “Mon Dieu! that was in Anno Domini 1022!” “A little later than that—
July 1031, if I remember rightly,” courteously corrected M. de Lassa.
Page 155
At this moment the tall footman bowed before M. Delessert, and presented the
salver containing the card. Delessert took it and read: “On vous accorde trente-cinq
secondes, M. Flabry, tout au plus!” Delessert followed the footman from the salon
across the corridor. The footman opened the door of another room and bowed again,
signifying that Delessert was to enter. “Ask no questions,” he said briefly; “Sidi is
mute.” Delessert entered the room and the door closed behind him. It was a small
room, with a strong smell of frankincense pervading it. The walls were covered
completely with red hangings that concealed the windows, and the floor was felted
with a thick carpet. Opposite the door, at the upper end of the room near the ceiling,
was the face of a large clock; under it, each lighted by tall wax candles, were two
small tables containing, the one an apparatus very like the common registering
telegraph instrument, the other a crystal globe about twenty inches in diameter, set
upon an exquisitely wrought tripod of gold and bronze intermingled. By the door
stood Sidi, a man jet black in colour, wearing a white turban and burnous, and having
a sort of wand of silver in one hand. With the other, he took Delessert by the right
arm above the elbow, and led him quickly up the room. He pointed to the clock, and
it struck an alarm; he pointed to the crystal. Delessert bent over, looked into it and
saw—a facsimile of his own sleeping-room, everything photographed exactly. Sidi
did not give him time to exclaim, but still holding him by the arm, took him to the
other table. The telegraph-like instrument began to click-click. Sidi opened the
drawer, drew out a slip of paper, crammed it into Delessert’s hand, and pointed to the
clock, which struck again. The thirty-five seconds were expired. Sidi, still retaining
hold of Delessert’s arm, pointed to the door and led him towards it. The door opened,
Sidi pushed him out, the door closed, the tall footman stood there bowing, the
interview with the oracle was over. Delessert glanced at the piece of paper in his
Page 156
It was a printed scrap, capital letters, and read simply: “To M. Paul Delessert: The
policeman is always welcome; the spy is always in danger!
Delessert was dumbfounded a moment to find his disguise detected; but the
words of the tall footman, “This way, if you please, M. Flabry,” brought him to his
senses. Setting his lips, he returned to the salon, and without delay sought M. de
Lassa. “Do you know the contents of this?” asked he, showing the message. “I know
everything, M. Delessert,” answered de Lassa, in his careless way. “Then perhaps you
are aware that I mean to expose a charlatan, and unmask a hypocrite, or perish in the
attempt?” said Delessert. “Cela m’est égal, monsieur,” replied de Lassa. “You accept
my challenge, then?” “Oh! it is a defiance, then?” replied de Lassa, letting his eye
rest a moment upon Delessert, “mais oui, je l’accepte!” And thereupon Delessert
Delessert now set to work, aided by all the forces the Prefect of Police could
bring to bear, to detect and expose this consummate sorcerer, whom the ruder
processes of our ancestors would easily have disposed of—by combustion. Persistent
enquiry satisfied Delessert that the man was neither a Hungarian nor named de Lassa;
that no matter how far back his power of “reminiscence” might extend, in his present
and immediate form he had been born in this unregenerate world in the toy-making
city of Nuremberg; that he was noted in boyhood for his great turn for ingenious
manufactures, but was very wild, and a mauvais sujet. In his sixteenth year he had
escaped to Geneva and apprenticed himself to a maker of watches and instruments.
Here he had been seen by the celebrated Robert Houdin, the prestidigitateur. Houdin,
recognizing the lad’s talents, and being himself a maker of ingenious automata, had
taken him off to Paris and employed him in his own workshops, as well as an
assistant in the public performances of his amusing and curious diablerie. After
staying with Houdin some years, Pflock Haslich (which was de Lassa’s right name)
had gone East in the suite of a Turkish Pasha, and after many years’ roving, in lands
where he could not be traced under a cloud of pseudonyms, had finally turned up in
Venice, and come thence to Paris.
Page 157
Delessert next turned his attention to Mme. de Lassa. It was more difficult to get
a clue by means of which to know her past life; but it was necessary in order to
understand enough about Haslich. At last, through an accident, it became probable
that Mme. Aimée was identical with a certain Mme. Schlaff, who had been rather
conspicuous among the demi-monde of Buda. Delessert posted off to that ancient
city, and thence went into the wilds of Transylvania to Medgyes. On his return, as
soon as he reached the telegraph and civilization, he telegraphed the Prefect from
Karcag: “Don’t lose sight of my man, nor let him leave Paris. I will run him in for
you two days after I get back.”
It happened that on the day of Delessert’s return to Paris the Prefect was absent,
being with the Emperor at Cherbourg. He came back on the fourth day, just twentyfour
hours after the announcement of Delessert’s death. That happened, as near as
could be gathered, in this wise: the night after Delessert’s return he was present at de
Lassa’s salon with a ticket of admittance to a séance. He was very completely
disguised as a decrepit old man, and fancied that it was impossible for any one to
detect him. Nevertheless, when he was taken into the room, and looked into the
crystal, he was actually horror-stricken to see there a picture of himself, lying face
down and senseless upon the side-walk of a street; and the message he received read
thus: “What you have seen will be Delessert, in three days. Prepare!” The detective,
unspeakably shocked, retired from the house at once, and sought his own lodgings.
In the morning he came to the office in a state of extreme dejection. He was
completely unnerved. In relating to a brother inspector what had occurred, he said:
“That man can do what he promises, I am doomed!”
He said that he thought he could make a complete case out against Haslich alias
de Lassa, but could not do so w without seeing the Prefect, and getting instructions.
Page 158
He would tell nothing in regard to his discoveries in Buda and in Transylvania—said
that he was not at liberty to do so—and repeatedly exclaimed: “Oh! if M. le Préfet
were only here!” He was told to go to the Prefect at Cherbourg, but refused, upon the
ground that his presence was needed in Paris. He time and again averred his
conviction that he was a doomed man, and showed himself both vacillating and
irresolute in his conduct, and extremely nervous. He was told that he was perfectly
safe, since de Lassa and all his household were under constant surveillance; to which
he replied; “You do not know the man.” An inspector was detailed to accompany
Delessert, never lose sight of him night and day, and guard him carefully; and proper
precautions were taken in regard to his food and drink, while the guards watching de
Lassa were doubled.
On the morning of the third day, Delessert, who had been staying chiefly indoors,
avowed his determination to go at once and telegraph to M. le Préfet to return
immediately. With this intention he and his brother-officer started out. Just as they got
to the corner of the Rue de Lancry and the Boulevard, Delessert stopped suddenly
and put his hand to his forehead.
“My God!” he cried, “the crystal! the picture!” and he fell prone upon his face,
insensible. He was taken at once to a hospital, but only lingered a few hours, never
regaining his consciousness. Under express instructions from the authorities, a most
careful, minute, and thorough autopsy was made of Delessert’s body by several
distinguished surgeons, whose unanimous opinion was, that the cause of his death
was apoplexy, due to fatigue and nervous excitement.
As soon as Delessert was sent to the hospital, his brother-inspector hurried to the
Central Office, and de Lassa, together with his wife and every one connected with the
establishment, were at once arrested. De Lassa smiled contemptuously as they took
him away. “I knew you were coming; I prepared for it. You will be glad to release me
It was quite true that de Lassa had prepared for them.
Page 159
When the house was searched, it was found that every paper had been burned, the
crystal globe was destroyed, and in the room of the séances was a great heap of
delicate machinery broken into indistinguishable bits. “That cost me 200,000 francs,”
said de Lassa, pointing to the pile, “but it has been a good investment.” The walls and
floors were ripped out in several places, and the damage to the property was
considerable. In prison neither de Lassa nor his associates made any revelations. The
notion that they had something to do with Delessert’s death was quickly dispelled, in
a legal point of view, and all the party but de Lassa were released. He was still
detained in prison, upon one pretext or another, when one morning he was found
hanging by a silk sash to the cornice of the room where he was confined—dead. The
night before, it was afterwards discovered, “Madame” de Lassa had eloped with a tall
footman, taking the Nubian Sidi with them.
De Lassa’s secrets died with him.
[In the next issue of the Spiritual Scientist, namely, December 2, 1875, p. 151,
the following Editorial Note was published:]
“It is an interesting story,—that article of yours in today’s Scientist. But is it a
record of facts, or a tissue of the imagination? If true, why not state the source of it;
in other words, specify your authority for it?”
The above is not signed, but we would take the opportunity to say, that the story,
“An Unsolved Mystery,” was published because we considered the main points of the
narrative,—the prophecies, and the singular death of the officer—to be psychic
phenomena, that have been, and can be again produced. Why quote “authorities”?
The Scriptures tell us of the death of Ananias, under the stern rebuke from Peter; here
we have a phenomenon of a similar nature. Ananias is supposed to have suffered
instant death from fear. Few can realize this power, governed by spiritual laws; but
those who have trod the boundary line, and KNOW some few of the things that CAN
be done, will see no great mystery in this, or the story published last week. We are not
speaking in mystical tones. Ask the powerful mesmerist if there is danger that the
subject may pass out from his control?
Page 160
If he could will the spirit out, never to return? It is capable of demonstration,
that the mesmerist can act on a subject at a distance of many miles; and it is no less
certain that the majority of mesmerists know little or nothing of the laws that govern
their powers.
It may be a pleasant dream to attempt to conceive of the beauties of the spiritworld;
but the time can be spent more profitably in a study of the spirit itself, and it is
not necessary that the subject for study should be in the spirit-world.
[In the same issue of the Spiritual Scientist, on page 147, there appeared the
following letter to the Editor which throws further light upon this remarkable story:]
To the Editor of the Spiritual Scientist.
I am quite well aware of the source from whence originated the facts woven into
the highly interesting story entitled “An Unsolved Mystery,” which appeared in No.
12, Vol. III, of your paper. I was myself at Paris at the time of the occurrences
described, and personally witnessed the marvellous effects produced by the
personage who figures in the anecdote as M. de Lasa. The attention you are giving to
the subject of Occultism meets with the hearty approbation of all initiates—among
which class it is idle for me to say whether I am or am not included.
You have opened to the American public a volume crammed, from cover to
cover, with accounts of psychic phenomena surpassing in romantic interest the more
wonderful experiences of the present day Spiritualism; and before long your paper
will be quoted all over the world as their chief repository. Before long, too, the
numerous writers in your contemporary journals, who have been gloating over the
supposed discomfiture of your Russian friends, Mme. Blavatsky and the President of
the Philosophical Académie, will have the laugh turned upon them, and wish they had
not been so hasty in committing themselves to print. The same number which
contains de Lassa’s story, has, in an article on “Occult Philosophy,” a suggestion that
the supposed materialized spirit-forms, recently seen, may be only the simulacra of
deceased people, resembling those individuals, but who are no more the real spirits
than is the “photograph in your album” the sitter.
Among the notable personages I met in Paris at the time specified, was the
venerable Count d’Ourches, then a hale, old gentleman nearly ninety years of age.
Page 161
His noble parents perished on the scaffold in the Reign of Terror, and the events of
that bloody epoch were stamped indelibly upon his memory. He had known
Cagliostro and his wife, and had a portrait of that lady, whose beauty dazzled the
courts of Europe. One day he hurried breathlessly into the apartment of a certain
nobleman, residing on the Champs Élysées, holding this miniature in his hand and
exclaiming, in great excitement: “Mon Dieu!—she has returned—it is she!—Madame
Cagliostro is here!” I smiled at seeing the old Count’s excitement, knowing well what
he was about to say. Upon quieting himself he told us he had just attended a séance of
M. de Lasa, and had recognized in his wife the original of the miniature, which he
exhibited, adding that it had come into his possession with other effects left by his
martyred father. Some of the facts concerning the de Lasa are detailed very
erroneously, but I shall not correct the errors.
I am aware that the first impulse of the facetious critics of Occultism will be to
smile at my hardihood in endorsing, by implication, the possibility that the beautiful
Madame de Lasa, of 1861, was none other than the equally beautiful Madame
Cagliostro of 1786; at the further suggestion that it is not at all impossible that the
proprietor of the crystal globe and clicking telegraph, which so upset the nerves of
Delessert, the police spy, was the same person, who, under the name of Alessandro di
Cagliostro, is reported by his lying biographers to have been found dead in the prison
of Sant’ Angelo.
These same humorous scribblers will have additional provocation to merriment
when I tell you that it is not only probable, but likely, that this same couple may be
seen in this country before the end of the Centennial Exhibition, astounding alike
professors, editors, and Spiritualists.
The initiates are as hard to catch as the sun-sparkle which flecks the dancing
wave on a summer day. One generation of men may know them under one name in a
certain country, and the nest, or a succeeding one, see them as someone else in a
remote land.
They live in each place as long as they are needed and then—pass away “like a
breath” leaving no trace behind.
[In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. I, p. 83, where the above Letter to the Editor of the
Spiritual Scientist is pasted as a clipping, the author of it is identified as a pupil of
Master M. The town formerly known as Kolozsvár was at that time within the
boundaries of Hungary; it is now known as Cluj and is in the Transylvanian District
of Rumania; its German equivalent was Klausenburg.
Page 162
H.P.B. also says that the story, “An Unsolved Mystery” was written from the
narrative of the Adept known as Hillarion, who sometimes signed himself Hillarion
Smerdis, though the Greek original has only one “l” in it, as a rule. H.P.B. drops the
initialmark of an aspirate and uses merely the initial letter “I” as would be the case in
Slavonic languages.
The facsimile of H.P.B.’s pen-and-ink notation in her Scrapbook is appended
The initiates are as hard to catch as the sun-sparkle which flecks the dancing
wave on a summer day. One generation of man may know them under one name in a
certain country, and the next, or a succeeding one, see them as some one else in a
remote land.
They live in each place as long as they are needed and then—pass away “like a
breath” leaving no trace behind.
It is a curious fact that when Peter Davidson, F.T.S., published in The
Theosophist (Vol. III, Feb. and March, 1882) an Old Tale about the Mysterious
Brothers, which he transcribed from an eighteenth century work, he concluded his
account with the following words:
“. . . . those mysterious ‘beings’ termed Brothers, Rosicrucians, etc., have been
met with in every clime, from the crowded streets of ‘Civilized’ (!) London, to the
silent crypts of crumbling temples in the ‘uncivilized’ desert; in short, wherever a
mighty and beneficent purpose may call them or where genuine merit may attract
them from their hermetic reticence, for one generation may recognize them by one
name in a certain country, and the succeeding, or another generation meet them as
someone else in a foreign land.” —Compiler.]
Page 163
[Professor Hiram Corson of Ithaca, N.Y., in an article dated December 26, 1875,
and published in the Banner of Light under the title of “The Theosophical Society
and its President’s Inaugural Address,” sharply criticizes Col. Olcott’s Presidential
Address of November 17, 1875, especially those portions of it which refer to
Spiritualism. To the cutting of this article, as pasted in her Scrapbook, Vol. I, pp. 98-
99, H.P.B. appended the following remarks:]
Oh, poor Yorick—we know him well! Aye even to having frequently seen him
go to bed with his silk hat and dirty boots on. Hiram Yorick must have been drunk
when he wrote this article.
See H. S. Olcott’s answer on page 112.
[The Sun, New York, Vol. XLIII, No. 104, December 26, 1875]
To the Editor of The Sun.
One morning in 1868 Eastern Europe was startled by news of the most
horrifying description.
* [This story was republished by H.P.B. in The Theosophist, Vol. IV, January, 1883, pp. 99-101,
under the title of “Can the ‘Double’ Murder?” She prefaced it with the following Editorial Note:
“The story which follows was written by the editor of this magazine some years ago at the request
of a literary friend in America, and published in a leading journal of New York. It is reprinted
because the events actually occurred, and they possess a very deep interest for the student of
psychological science. They show in a marked degree the enormous potentiality of the human will
upon mesmeric subjects whose whole being may be so imbued with an imparted intellectual
preconception that the ‘double,’ or mayavi-rupa, when projected transcorporeally, will carry out the
mesmerizer’s mandate with helpless subserviency. The fact that a mortal wound may be inflicted
upon the inner man without puncturing the epidermis will be a novelty only to such readers as have
not closely examined the records and noted the many proofs that death may result from many
psychical causes besides the emotions whose lethal power is universally conceded.”
Page 164
Michael Obrenovitch, reigning Prince of Serbia, his aunt, the Princess Catherine, or
Katinka, and her daughter, had been murdered in broad daylight, near Belgrade, in
their own garden, the assassin or assassins remaining unknown.* The Prince had
received several bullet shots and stabs, and his body was actually butchered; the
Princess was killed on the spot, her head smashed, and her young daughter, though
still alive, was not expected to survive. The circumstances are too recent to have been
forgotten, but in that part of the world, at that time, the case created a delirium of
In the Austrian dominions and in those under the doubtful protectorate of
Turkey, from Bucharest down to Trieste, no high family felt secure. In those halforiental
countries every Montecchi has its Capuletti, and it was rumored that the
bloody deed was perpetrated by the Prince Kara-Georgevitch, an old pretender to the
modest throne of Serbia, whose father had been wronged by the first Obrenovitch.
The Jaggos of this family were known to nourish the bitterest hatred toward one
whom they called a usurper, and “the shepherd’s grandson.” For a time, the official
papers of Austria were filled with indignant denials of the charge that the treacherous
deed had been done or procured by Kara-Georgevitch, or “Czerno-Georgiy,” as he is
usually called in those parts. Several persons, innocent of the act, were, as is usual in
such cases, imprisoned, and the real murderers escaped justice.
* [Mihailo Obrenoviæ (1823-68) was the youngest son of Prince Milon Obrenoviæ (1780-1860).
After the abdication of his father in 1839, and the death of his elder brother, Milan Obrenoviæ, the
same year, he ascended the throne of Serbia. His ambitious program of self-assertion abroad and
reforms within, alienated Turkey and Austria. Heavy taxation imposed upon the people strengthened
the party which had forced his father to abdicate. In August, 1842, Vucic the leader of the
malcontents, forced him to leave Serbia, and Alexander Karageorgevic was elected in his place. In
1858 Alexander was dethroned in his turn, and Milos Obrenovic recalled to the throne. On his death
in 1860, Mihailo succeeded him. His policy was wise and moderate; he entertained plans for a
union of various Slavonic tribes in South-East Europe, and obtained the withdrawal of the last
Turkish garrisons from Serbia April 18, 1867. On May 29/June 10, 1868, he was assassinated in the
park of Koshutnyak, at Topcider, near Belgrade.—Compiler.]
Page 165
A young relative of the victim, greatly beloved by his people, a mere child, taken for
the purpose from a school in Paris, was brought over in ceremony to Belgrade and
proclaimed Hospodar of Serbia.* In the turmoil of political excitement the tragedy of
Belgrade was forgotten by all but an old Serbian matron, who had been attached to
the Obrenovitch family, and who, like Rachel, would not be consoled for the death of
her children. After the proclamation of the young Obrenovitch, the nephew of the
murdered man, she had sold out her property and disappeared; but not before taking a
solemn vow on the tombs of the victims to avenge their deaths.
The writer of this truthful narrative had passed a few days at Belgrade, about
three months before the horrid deed was perpetrated, and knew the Princess Katinka.
She was a kind, gentle and lazy creature at home; abroad she seemed a Parisian in
manners and education. As nearly all the personages who will figure in this true story
are still living, it is but decent that I should withhold their names, and give only
The old Serbian lady seldom left her house, going out but to see the Princess
occasionally. Crouched on a pile of pillows and carpeting, clad in the picturesque
national dress, she looked like the Cumaean Sibyl in her days of calm repose. Strange
stories were whispered about her occult knowledge, and thrilling accounts circulated
sometimes among the guests assembled round the fireside of my modest inn. Our fat
landlord’s maiden aunt’s cousin had been troubled for some time past by a wandering
vampire, and had been bled nearly to death by the nocturnal visitor; and while the
efforts and exorcisms of the parish pope had been of no avail, the victim was luckily
delivered by Gospoja P—, who had put to flight the disturbing ghost by merely
shaking her fist at him, and shaming him in his own language. It was in Belgrade that
I learned for the first time this highly interesting fact for philology, namely, that
spooks have a language of their own.
[This was Milan Obrenoviæ (1854-1901), son of Milos Jevremovie Obrenovie (1829-1861), the
nephew of Prince Milos (1780-1860), and by his cousin Mihailo, educated at Bucharest and Paris,
and placed on the throne under a regency in 1868.—Compiler.]
Page 166
The old lady, whom I will call Gospoja P—, was generally attended by another
personage destined to be the principal actress in our tale of horror. It was a young
gypsy girl, from some part of Rumania, about fourteen years of age. Where she was
born, and who she was, she seemed to know as little as anyone else. I was told she
had been brought one day by a party of strolling gypsies, and left in the yard of the
old lady; from which moment she became an inmate of the house. She was
nicknamed “the sleeping girl,” as she was said to be gifted with the faculty of
apparently dropping asleep wherever she stood, and speaking her dreams aloud. The
girl’s heathen name was Frosya.
About eighteen months after the news of the murder had reached Italy, where I
was at the time, I was travelling over the Banat, in a small wagon of my own, hiring a
horse whenever I needed it, after the fashion of this primitive, trusting country. I met
on my way an old Frenchman, a scientist, travelling alone after my own fashion, but
with the difference that while he was a pedestrian I dominated the road from the
eminence of a throne of dry hay, in a jolting wagon. I discovered him one fine
morning, slumbering in a wilderness of shrubs and flowers, and had nearly passed
over him, absorbed as I was, in the contemplation of the surrounding glorious
scenery. The acquaintance was soon made, no great ceremony of mutual introduction
being needed. I had heard his name mentioned in circles interested in mesmerism,
and knew him to be a powerful adept of the school of Du Potet.
“I have found,” he remarked in the course of the conversation, after I had made
him share my seat of hay, “one of the most wonderful subjects in this lovely
I have an appointment to-night with the family. They are seeking to unravel the
mystery of a murder by means of the clairvoyance of the girl. . . . She is wonderful;
very, very wonderful!”
Page 167
“Who is she?” I asked.
“A Rumanian gypsy. She was brought up, it appears, in the family of the Serbian
reigning Prince, who reigns no more, for he was very mysteriously mur——. Holoah,
take care! Diable, you will upset us over the precipice!” he hurriedly exclaimed,
unceremoniously snatching from me the reins, and giving the horse a violent pull.
“You do not mean Prince Obrenovitch?” I asked, aghast.
“Yes, I do; and him precisely. To-night I have to be there, hoping to close a
series of séances by finally developing a most marvellous manifestation of the hidden
power of human spirit, and you may come with me. I will introduce you; and,
besides, you can help me as an interpreter, for they do not speak French.”
As I was pretty sure that if the somnambule was Frosya, the rest of the family
must be Gospoja P——, I readily accepted. At sunset we were at the foot of the
mountain, leading to the old castle, as the Frenchman called the place. It fully
deserved the poetical name given it. There was a rough bench in the depths of one of
the shadowy retreats, and as we stopped at the entrance of this poetical place, and the
Frenchman was gallantly busying himself with my horse on the suspicious-looking
bridge which led across the water to the entrance gate, I saw a tall figure slowly rise
from the bench and come toward us. It was my old friend, Gospoja P——, looking
more pale and more mysterious than ever. She exhibited no surprise at seeing me, but
simply greeting me after the Serbian fashion, with a triple kiss on both cheeks, she
took hold of my hand and led me straight to the nest of ivy. Half reclining on a small
carpet spread on the tall grass with her back leaning against the wall, I recognized our
Page 168
She was dressed in the national costume of the Valachian women, a sort of gauze
turban intermingled with various gilt medals and bands on her head, white shirt with
opened sleeves, and petticoats of variegated colours. Her face looked deadly pale, her
eyes were closed, and her countenance presented that stony, sphinx-like look which
characterizes in such a peculiar way the entranced clairvoyant somnambule. If it were
not for the heaving motion of her chest and bosom, ornamented by rows of medals
and bead necklaces which feebly tinkled at every breath, one might have thought her
dead, so lifeless and corpse-like was her face. The Frenchman informed me that he
had sent her to sleep just as we were approaching the house, and that she now was as
he had left her the previous night: he then began busying himself with the sujet, as he
called Frosya. Paying no further attention to us, he shook her by the hand, and then
making a few rapid passes, stretched out her arm and stiffened it. The arm, as rigid as
iron, remained in that position. He then closed all her fingers but one—the middle
finger—which he caused to point at the evening star, which twinkled in the deep blue
sky. Then he turned round and went over from right to left, throwing on some of his
fluids here, again discharging them at another place; busying himself with his
invisible but potent fluids, like a painter with his brush when giving the last touches
to a picture.
The old lady, who had silently watched him, with her chin in her hand the while,
put out her thin, skeleton-looking hand on his arm and arrested it, as he was preparing
himself to begin the regular mesmeric passes.
“Wait,” she whispered, “till the star is set, and the ninth hour completed. The
Vourdalaki* are hovering around; they may spoil the influence.”
“What does she say?” inquired the mesmerizer, annoyed at her interference.
* [Also known as vlukolak and vukodlak among Slavonian people. —Compiler.]
Page 169
I explained to him that the old lady feared the pernicious influences of the
“Vourdalaki? What’s that, the Vourdalaki?” exclaimed the Frenchman. “Let us
be satisfied with Christian spirits, if they honor us to-night with a visit, and lose no
time for the Vourdalaki.”
I glanced at the Gospoja. She had become deathly pale, and her brow was
sternly knitted over her flashing black eyes.
“Tell him not to jest at this hour of the night!” she cried. “He does not know the
country. Even the Holy Church may fail to protect us, once the Vourdalaki aroused.
What’s this?” pushing with her foot a bundle of herbs the botanizing mesmerizer had
laid near on the grass. She bent over the collection and anxiously examined the
contents of the bundle, after which she flung the whole in the water.
“It must not be left here,” she firmly added; “these are the St. John’s plants, and
they might attract the wandering ones.”
Meanwhile the night had come, and the moon illuminated the landscape with a
pale, ghostly light. The nights in the Banat are nearly as beautiful as in the East, and
the Frenchman had to go on with his experiments in the open air as the “pope” of the
Church had prohibited such in his tower, which was used as the parsonage, for fear of
filling the holy precincts with the heretical devils of the mesmerizer, which, he
remarked, he would be unable to exorcise on account of their being foreigners.
The old gentleman had thrown off his travelling blouse, rolled up his shirt
sleeves, and now striking a theatrical attitude began a regular process of
mesmerization. Under his quivering fingers the odile fluid actually seemed to flash in
the twilight. Frosya was placed with her figure facing the moon, and every motion of
the entranced girl was discernible as in daylight. In a few minutes large drops of
perspiration appeared on her brow and slowly rolled down her pale face, glittering in
the moonbeams.
Page 170
Then she moved uneasily about and began chanting a low melody, to the words of
which the Gospoja, anxiously bent over the unconscious girl, was listening with
avidity and trying to catch every syllable. With her thin finger on her lips her eyes
nearly starting from their sockets, her frame motionless, the old lady seemed herself
transfixed into a statue of attention. The group was a remarkable one, and I regretted
that I was not a painter. What followed was a scene worthy to figure in “Macbeth.” At
one side the slender girl, pale and corpse-like, writhing under the invisible fluid of
him who for the hour was her omnipotent master; at the other the old matron, who,
burning with her unquenched desire of revenge, stood like the picture of Nemesis,
waiting for the long-expected name of the Prince’s murderer to be at last pronounced.
The Frenchman himself seemed transfigured, his gray hair standing on end; his bulky,
clumsy form seemed to have grown in a few minutes. All theatrical pretence was now
gone; there remained but the mesmerizer, aware of his responsibility, unconscious
himself of the possible results, studying and anxiously expecting. Suddenly Frosya,
as if lifted by some supernatural force, rose from her reclining posture and stood erect
before us, motionless and still again, waiting for the magnetic fluid to direct her. The
Frenchman, silently taking the old lady’s hand, placed it in that of the somnambulist,
and ordered her to put herself en rapport with the Gospoja.
“What seest thou, my daughter? “ softly murmured the Serbian lady. “Can your
spirit seek out the murderers?”
“Search and behold!” sternly commanded the mesmerizer, fixing his gaze upon
the face of the subject.
“I am—on my way—I go,” faintly whispered Frosya, her voice seeming not to
come from herself, but from the surrounding atmosphere.
At this moment something so extraordinary took place that I doubt my ability to
describe it. A luminous shadow, vapor-like, appeared closely surrounding the girl’s
Page 171
At first about an inch in thickness, it gradually expanded, and, gathering itself,
suddenly seemed to break off from the I body altogether, and condense itself into a
kind of semi-solid vapor, which very soon assumed the likeness of the somnambule
herself. Flickering about the surface of the earth, the form vacillated for two or three
seconds, then glided noiselessly toward the river. It disappeared like a mist dissolved
in the moonbeams, which seemed to absorb and imbibe it altogether.
I had followed the scene with intense attention The mysterious operation,
known in the East as the evocation of the scîn-lâc* was taking place before my own
eyes To doubt was impossible, and Du Potet was right in saying that mesmerism is
the conscious magic of the ancients, and spiritualism the unconscious effect of the
same magic upon certain organisms.
As soon as the vaporous double had soaked itself through the pores of the girl,
the Gospoja had, by a rapid motion of the hand which was left free, drawn from
under her pelisse something which looked to us suspiciously like a small stiletto, and
placed it as rapidly in the girl’s bosom. The action was so quick that the mesmerizer,
absorbed in his work, had not remarked it,† as he afterwards told me. A few minutes
elapsed in a dead silence. We seemed a group of petrified persons. Suddenly a
thrilling and transpiercing cry burst from the entranced girl’s lips. She bent forward,
and snatching the stiletto from her bosom, plunged it furiously around her in the air,
as if pursuing imaginary foes.
* [H.P.B. seems to imply that this is an Eastern term, while in reality it is an Anglo-Saxon one.
Scîn-lâc means magic, necromancy and sorcery, as well as a magical appearance, a spectral form, a
deceptive appearance or a phantom (phantasma). Scîn-lâeca is a magician or sorcerer, and scînlâece,
a sorceress. The art by means of which illusory appearances are produced was known as
scînn-craeft. From the Anglo-Saxon scînan, to shine, was also derived the term scîn-fold used for
the idea of the Elysian fields.—Compiler.]
† [H.P.B. must have often thought in French, even when writing English. This is a case in point. She
means “had not noticed it,” but uses the equivalent of the French word “remarquer” which carries a
different meaning in English.—Compiler.]
Page 172
Her mouth foamed, and incoherent, wild exclamations broke from her lips, among
which discordant sounds I discerned several times two familiar Christian names of
men. The mesmerizer was so terrified that he lost all control over himself, and instead
of withdrawing the fluid, he loaded the girl with it still more.
“Take care!” exclaimed I. “Stop! You will kill her or she will kill you!”
But the Frenchman had unwittingly raised subtle potencies of nature, over which
he had no control. Furiously turning round, the girl struck at him a blow which would
have killed him, had he not avoided it by jumping aside, receiving but a severe
scratch on the right arm. The poor man was panic-stricken. Climbing with an
extraordinary agility for a man of his bulky form on the wall over her, he fixed
himself on it astride, and gathering the remnants of his will power, sent in her
direction a series of passes. At the second, the girl dropped the weapon and remained
“What are you about?” hoarsely shouted the mesmerizer in French, seated like some
monstrous night goblin on the wall. “Answer me: I command you!”
“I did—but what she—whom you ordered me to obey— commanded me do,”
answered the girl in French, to my amazement.
“What did the old witch command you?” irreverently asked he.
“To find them—who murdered—kill them—I did so—and they are no more!—
avenged—avenged! They are—”
An exclamation of triumph, a loud shout of infernal joy rang loud in the air, and
awakening the dogs of the neighboring villages a responsive howl of barking began
from that moment like a ceaseless echo of the Gospoja’s cry.
“I am avenged. I feel it, I know it. My warning heart tells me that the fiends are
no more.” And she fell panting on the ground, dragging down in her fall the girl, who
allowed herself to be pulled down as if she were a bag of wool.
Page 173
“I hope my subject did no further mischief to-night. She is a dangerous as well
as a very wonderful subject!” said the Frenchman.
We parted. Three days after that I was at T——, and as I was sitting in the
dining-room of a restaurant waiting for my lunch I happened to pick up a newspaper,
and the first lines I read ran thus:
VIENNA, 186—. TWO MYSTERIOUS DEATHS. Last evening, at 9:45, as P
—— was about to retire, two of the gentlemen in waiting suddenly exhibited great
terror, as though they had seen a dreadful apparition. They screamed, staggered, and
ran about the room holding up their hands as if to ward off the blows of an unseen
weapon. They paid no attention to the eager questions of the Prince and suite, but
presently fell writhing upon the floor, and expired in great agony. Their bodies
exhibited no appearance of apoplexy, nor any external marks of wounds; but
wonderful to relate, there were numerous dark spots and long marks upon the skin, as
though they were stabs and slashes made without puncturing the cuticle. The autopsy
revealed the fact that beneath each of these mysterious discolorations there was a
deposit of coagulated blood. The greatest excitement prevails, and the faculty are
unable to solve the mystery.”
* [In her Scrapbook, Vol. I, p. 118, H.P.B. pasted a cutting of this story and signed her name under
this pseudonym. Concerning the veracity of the facts outlined by H.P.B., and other data relevant to
this story, the student is referred to H.P.B.’s letter written to A. P. Sinnett in the early part of 1886
and numbered Letter No. LXI, in the volume entitled The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett,
published in 1924.
Some years later, when this story was republished in The Theosophist, Vol. IV, January, 1883, John
Yarker, the well-known Mason, wrote a brief account of similar experiences he had had with
sensitives (ibid., March, 1883, pp. 149-50). To his inquiry as to the genuineness of the narrative,
H.P.B. added in a footnote: “We assure our learned correspondent that every word of our narrative is
true.” —Compiler.]
Page 177
[The Sun, New York, Vol. XLIII, No. 111, January 2, 1876]
We were a small party of merry travellers. We had arrived at Constantinople a
week before from Greece, and had devoted fourteen hours a day to running up and
down the steep hills of Pera, visiting bazaars, climbing to the tops of minarets, and
fighting our way through armies of hungry dogs, traditional masters of the streets of
Stamboul. Nomadic life is infectious, they say, and no civilization is strong enough to
destroy the charm of unrestrained freedom when it has once been tasted. For the first
three days my spaniel, Ralph, had kept at my heels, and behaved like a tolerably welleducated
quadruped. He was a fine fellow, my travelling companion and most
cherished friend; I was afraid to lose him, and so kept a good watch over his
incomings and outgoings. At every impudent attack by his Mohammedan fellow
creatures, whether demonstrations of friendship or hostility, he would merely draw in
his tail between his legs, and seek in a dignified and modest manner protection under
one or the other wing of our little party. He had shown from the first a decided
aversion to bad company, and so, having become assured of his discretion, by the end
of the third day I relinquished my vigilance. This neglect was speedily followed by
punishment. In an unguarded moment he listened to the voice of some canine siren,
and the last I saw of him was his bushy tail vanishing around the corner of a dirty,
crooked street.
* [In her Scrapbook, Vol. I, p. 118, H.P.B. made a notation in blue pencil above this title to the
effect that this was her “2nd story.”—Compiler.]
Page 178
Greatly annoyed, and determined to recover him at all hazards, I passed the
remainder of the day in a vain search. I offered twenty, thirty, forty francs reward for
him. About as many vagabond Maltese began a regular chase, and toward night we
were assailed in our hotel by the whole troop, every man of them with a mangy cur in
his arms, which he tried his best to convince me was the dog I had lost. The more I
denied, the more solemnly they insisted, one of them actually going down upon his
knees, snatching from his bosom an old corroded image of the Virgin, and swearing
with a solemn oath that the Queen of Heaven herself had appeared to him and kindly
shown him which dog was mine. The tumult had increased so as to threaten a riot,
when finally our landlord had to send for a couple of kavasches from the nearest
police station, who expelled the army of bipeds and quadrupeds by main force. I was
the more in despair, as the headwaiter, a semi-respectable old brigand, who, judging
by appearances, had not passed more than a half-dozen years in the galleys, gravely
assured me that my pains were all useless, as my spaniel was undoubtedly devoured
and half digested by this time, the Turkish dogs being very fond of their toothsome
Christian brothers.
The discussion was held in the street, at the door of the hotel, and I was about to
give up the search for that night, when an old Greek lady, a Phanariote, who had
listened attentively to the fracas from the steps of a neighboring house, approached
our disconsolate group and suggested to Miss H., one of our party, that we should
inquire of the Dervishes concerning the fate of Ralph. “And what can the Dervishes
know about my dog?” inquired I, in no mood to joke.
“The holy men know all, Kyrea (madam)!” answered she, somewhat
mysteriously. “Last week I was robbed of my new satin pelisse, which my son had
brought me from Brusa, and, as you all see, there I have it on my back again.”
Page 179
“Indeed? Then the holy men have also metamorphosed your new pelisse into an
old one, I should say,” remarked a gentleman of our company, pointing to a large rent
in the back, which had been clumsily mended with pins.
“And it is precisely that which is most wonderful,” quietly answered the
Phanariote, not in the least disconcerted. “They showed me in the luminous circle the
quarter of the town, the house, and even the room in which the Jew who stole it was
preparing to rip and cut my garment into pieces. My son and I had barely the time to
run over to the Kalindjikoulosek quarter and save my property. We caught the thief in
the very act, and both instantly recognized him as the man shown us by the Dervishes
in the magic moon. He confessed, and is in prison now.”
Not understanding what she meant by the luminous circle and magic moon, but
not a little mystified by her account of the divining powers of the “holy men,” we felt
so satisfied that the story was not wholly a fabrication that we decided to go and see
for ourselves on the following morning.
The monotonous cry of the Muezzin from the top of a minaret had just
proclaimed the noon of the day as we, descending from the heights of Pera to the port
of Galata, with difficulty elbowed our way through the unsavory crowds of the
commercial quarter of the town. Before we reached the docks we had been half
deafened by the shouts and incessant, ear-piercing noises, and the Babel-like
confusion of tongues. In this part of the city it is useless to expect to be guided by
either house numbers or names of streets. The location of any desired place is
indicated by its relative proximity to some other conspicuous building, such as a
Mosque, bath or European storehouse; for the rest one has to put his faith in Allah
and his prophet.
It was with the greatest difficulty, therefore, that we finally found the British
shipchandler’s store in the rear of which we were to look for the place of our
Page 180
Our hotel guide knew about the Dervishes as little as ourselves; but at last a
Greek urchin, in all the simplicity of primitive undress, consented for a modest
copper bakshish, to lead us to the dancers.
We arrived at last, and were shown into a gloomy and vast hall, which appeared
to me like a vacated stable. It was long and narrow, the floor was thickly strewn with
sand, as in a manège, and it was lighted only through small windows under the
cornices of the ceiling. The Dervishes had finished their morning performances, and
were evidently resting from their exhausting labors. They looked completely
prostrated, some lying about in corners, others sitting on their heels, staring vacantly,
in mute contemplation of the Invisible Divinity, as we were informed. They appeared
to have lost all power of speech and hearing, for none of them responded to our
questions until a gaunt giant-limbed fellow, in a tall pointed cap, which made him
appear over seven feet high, emerged from an obscure nook. Informing us that he was
the chief, he remarked that the holy brethren, being in the act of receiving orders for
further ceremonies of the day from Allah himself, must not be disturbed. But when
the interpreter had explained to him the object of our visit, which concerned himself
alone, he being the sole proprietor of the “divining rod,” his objections vanished, and
he extended his hand for the alms. Upon being gratified, he beckoned two of our
party, signifying that he could not accommodate more at once, and led the way.
Plunging after him into the darkness of what seemed a half-subterranean
passage, we were led to the foot of a tall ladder reaching to a chamber under the roof.
We scrambled up after our guide and found ourselves in a wretched garret, of
moderate size, destitute of all furniture. The floor, however, was carpeted with a thick
layer of dust, and cobwebs festooned the walls in profusion. In one corner we
perceived something which I mistook, at first, for a bundle of old rags; but the heap
presently moved, got on its legs, advanced to the middle of the room, and stood
before us, the most extraordinary-looking creature that I ever beheld. Its sex was
female, but it was impossible to decide whether she was a woman or a child.
Page 181
She was a hideous-looking dwarf, with a head so monstrously developed that it
would have been too big for a giant; the shoulders of a grenadier; the bosom of a
Normandy wet nurse; and the whole supported on two short, lean, spider-looking
legs, which trembled under the disproportionate size of the trunk as she advanced.
She had a grinning countenance, like the face of a satyr, and it was ornamented with
letters and signs from the Koran, painted in bright yellow. On her forehead was a
blood-red crescent; her head was crowned with a dusty tarboosh; the lower
extremities covered with large Turkish trousers; the upper portion of the body
wrapped in dirty white muslin, barely sufficient to conceal one-half of its deformities.
This creature rather let herself drop than sat down, in the middle of the floor, and as
her weight came upon the rickety boards it sent up a thick cloud of dust, which
invaded our throats and set us to coughing and sneezing. This was the famous
Tatmos, known as the Damascus Oracle!
Without losing time in idle talk, the Dervish produced a piece of chalk, and
traced round the girl a circle about six feet in diameter. Fetching from behind the door
twelve small copper lamps, and filling them with a dark liquid contained in a vial
which he drew from his bosom, he placed them symmetrically around the magic
circle. He then broke a chip of wood from the half-ruined panel of the door, which
bore evident marks of many a similar depredation, and, holding the chip between his
thumb and finger, began blowing on it at regular intervals, alternating with mutterings
of weird incantation; suddenly, and to all appearance without any apparent cause for
its ignition, there appeared a spark on the chip, and it blazed up like a dry match. He
lit the twelve lamps at this self-generated flame. During this process, Tatmos, who
until then had sat altogether unconcerned and motionless, removed her yellow
babouches off from her naked feet, and throwing them into a corner, disclosed, as an
additional beauty, a sixth toe on each deformed foot.
Page 182
The Dervish then reached over into the circle, and, seizing the dwarf’s ankles, gave a
jerk as if he had been lifting a bag of corn, raised her clear off the ground, and
stepping back, held her head downward. He shook her as one might a sack to pack its
contents, the motion being regular and easy. He then swung her to and fro like a
pendulum until the necessary momentum was acquired, when, letting go one foot and
seizing the other with both hands, he made a powerful, muscular effort and whirled
her round in the air as if she had been an Indian club.
My companion had shrunk back into a corner in fear. Round and round the
Dervish swung his living burden, she remaining perfectly passive. The motion
increased in rapidity, until the eye could hardly follow her body in its circuit. This
continued perhaps for two or three minutes, until gradually slackening the motion, he
stopped it, and in an instant had landed the girl upon her knees in the middle of the
lamp-lit circle. Such was the Eastern method of mesmerization as practised among
the Dervishes.
And now the dwarf seemed entirely oblivious of external objects, and in a deep
trance. Her head and jaw dropped upon her chest, her eyes were glazed and staring,
and altogether her appearance was hideous. The Dervish then carefully closed the
wooden shutters of the only window, and we would have been in total obscurity but
that there was a hole bored in it, through which entered a bright ray of sunlight,
which shot through the darkened room and shone upon the girl. He arranged her
drooping head so that the ray should fall directly upon the crown, after which,
motioning us to remain silent, he folded his arms upon his bosom, and fixing his gaze
upon the bright spot, became as motionless as an image of stone. I, too, riveted my
eyes upon the same spot, and followed the proceeding with intense interest, for I had
seen something similar before, and knew what beautiful phenomena to expect.
Page 183
By degrees the bright patch, as if it had drawn through the sunbeam a greater
splendor from without and condensed it within its own area, shaped itself into a
brilliant star, which from its focus sent out rays in every direction.
A curious optical effect then occurred. The room, which previously had been
partially lighted by the sunbeam, grew darker and darker as the star increased in
radiance, until we found ourselves in an Egyptian gloom. The star twinkled,
trembled, and turned, at first with a slow, gyratory motion, then faster and faster,
expanding and increasing its circumference at every rotation until it formed a brilliant
disc, and we lost sight of the dwarf as if she herself had been absorbed into its light.
Having gradually attained a vertiginous velocity, as the girl had when whirled by the
Dervish, the motion began decreasing, and finally merged into a feeble vibration, like
the shimmer of moonbeams on rippling water.
Then it flickered for a moment longer, emitted a few last flashes, and assuming
the density and irridescence of an immense opal, it remained motionless. The disc
now radiated a moon-like lustre, soft and silvery, but instead of illuminating the
garret, this seemed only to intensify the darkness. Its edge was not penumbrous, but,
on the contrary, sharply defined like that of a silver shield.
All being now ready the Dervish without uttering a word, or removing his gaze
from the disc, stretched out a hand and taking hold of mine, he drew me to his side
and pointed to the illuminated shield. Looking at the place indicated, we saw dark
patches appear like those upon the moon. These gradually formed themselves into
figures, which began moving about till they came out in high relief in their natural
colors. They neither appeared like a photograph nor an engraving; still less like
reflection of images on a mirror; but as if the disc were a cameo and they were raised
above its surface and then endowed with life and motion. To my astonishment and
my friend’s consternation we recognized the bridge leading from Galata to Stamboul,
spanning the Golden Horn from the new to the old city.
Page 184
There were the people hurrying to and fro, steamers and gay caiks gliding on the blue
Bosphorus; the many-colored buildings, villas and palaces reflected in the water; and
the whole picture illuminated by the noonday sun.
It passed like a panorama; but so vivid was the impression that we could not tell
whether it or ourselves were in motion. All was bustle and life, but not a sound broke
the oppressive stillness. It was noiseless as a dream. It was a phantom picture. Street
after street and quarter after quarter succeeded each other; there was the Bazaar, with
its narrow, roofed passages, the small shops on each side, the coffee house, with
gravely-smoking Turks; and as either they or we glided past them, one of the smokers
upset the narghile and coffee of another, and a volley of soundless invectives caused
us great amusement. So we travelled with the picture until we came to a large
building, which I recognized as the Palace of the Minister of Finance. In a ditch
behind the house and close by to a Mosque, lying in a pool of mud, with his silken
coat all bedraggled, lay my poor Ralph! Panting and crouching down as if exhausted,
he seemed dying; and near him were gathered some sorry-looking curs who lay
blinking in the sun and snapping at the flies!
I had seen all that I desired, although I had not breathed a word about the dog to
the Dervish, and had come more out of curiosity than with the idea of any success. I
was impatient to leave at once to recover Ralph; but as my companion besought me
to remain a little while longer, I reluctantly consented.
The scene faded away, and Miss H—— placed herself in her turn nearer by the
side of the gigantic Dervish. “I will think of him,” whispered she into my ear, with
that sentimental tone which young ladies generally assume when referring to a “him.”
A long stretch of sand; a blue sea, with white caps dancing in the sun; a great steamer,
ploughing her way along past a desolate shore, and leaving a milky track behind her.
Page 185
The deck is full of life; then men busy forward; the cook, with his white cap and
apron, coming out of his galley; uniformed officers moving about; passengers on the
quarter deck flirting, lounging, or reading; and a young man we both recognize comes
forward and leans over the taffrail. It is—him!
Miss H—— gives a little gasp, blushes and smiles, and concentrates her
thoughts again. The picture of the steamer fades away in its turn; the magic moon
remains for a few seconds pictureless. But new spots appear on its luminous face; we
see a library slowly emerging from its depths a library with green carpet and
hangings, and book-shelves around three sides of the room. Seated in an armchair by
the table, under the chandelier, is an old gentleman writing. His grey hair is brushed
back from his forehead, his face is smooth-shaven, and his countenance has an
expression of benignity. “Father!” joyfully exclaims Miss H——.
The Dervish makes a hasty motion to enjoin silence. The light on the disc
quivers, but resumes its steady brilliancy once more.
We are back in Constantinople now; and out of the pearly depths of the shield
forms our own apartment in the hotel. There are our papers and books lying upon the
bureau, my friend’s travelling-hat in a comer, her ribbons hanging on the glass, and
on the bed the very dress which she had exchanged when we started out on our
memorable expedition. No detail was lacking to make the identification complete;
and, to prove that we were not seeing something conjured up in our own
imaginations, there lay upon the dressing case two sealed letters, the very
handwriting upon which my friend recognizes. They were from a very dear relative of
hers, from whom she had expected to hear at Athens, but had been disappointed. The
scene faded away, and we now see her brother’s room, with himself lying upon the
lounge, and the servant bathing his head, which, to our horror, we see bleeding!
Page 186
We had left the boy perfectly well one hour before; but upon seeing his picture my
companion uttered a cry of alarm, and seizing me by the hand dragged me towards
the door. Down below we rejoined our guide, and hurried back to our hotel.
The boy had fallen downstairs and cut himself badly on the forehead; in the
room, on the writing desk were the two letters which had been forwarded from
Athens, letters she had seen in the disc and recognized, and the arrival of which had
been so impatiently expected. Ordering the carriage, I drove hurriedly to the Minister
of Finance, and alighting with the guide went right to the ditch I had never seen but in
the magic room. In the middle of the pool, badly mangled, half famished, but still
alive, lay my beautiful spaniel, Ralph! HADJI MORA.
[Spiritual Scientist, Boston, Vol. III, January 6, 1876, pp. 208-9]
To the Editor of the Spiritual Scientist: Dear Sir,—For the last three months one
has hardly been able to open a number of the Banner, or the other papers, without
finding one or more proofs of the fecundity of the human imagination in the
condition of hallucination. The Spiritualist camp is in an uproar, and the clans are
gathering to fight imaginary foes. The toxin is sounded; danger signals shoot, like
flaming rockets, across the hitherto serene sky, and warning cries are uttered by
vigilant sentries posted at the four corners of the “angel-girt world.” The
reverberations of this din resound even in the daily press.
Page 187
One would think that the last day of judgment had come for American
Why all this disturbance? Simply because two humble individuals have spoken a
few wholesome truths. If the grand beast of the Apocalypse with its seven heads, and
the word “Blasphemy” written upon each, had appeared in heaven, there would
hardly have been so much commotion there, as this; and there seems to be a
concerted effort to pitch Colonel Olcott and myself, coupled like a pair of Hermetic
Siamese twins, into the school of the Diakka.* Occultism seems to the superstitious,
as ominous as a comet with fiery tail, and the precursor of war, plagues and other
calamities. They seem to think that if they do not crush us, we will destroy
I have no time to waste, and what I now write is not intended for the benefit of
such persons as these, whose soap-bubbles, however pretty, are sure to burst of
themselves, but to set myself right with many most estimable Spiritualists for whom I
feel a sincere regard.
If the spiritual press of America were conducted upon a principle of doing even
justice to all, I would send your contemporaries copies of this letter, but their course
in the past has made me, whether rightly or not, feel as if no redress could be had
outside of your columns. I shall be only too glad if their treatment in this case gives
me cause to change my opinion that they and their slandering theorists are inspired by
the biblical devils who left Mary Magdalene and returned to the land of the “Sweet
* [When the cutting of this article was pasted in H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. I, p. 108, she corrected the
word “school” to read “Scheol” and added the following footnote in pen and ink: Scheol—the hell
of the Jews—you donkey printer. —Compiler.]
† [A hymn by Ira David Sankey (1840-1908), in which occur the following lines: “In the sweet byand-
by, We shall meet on that beautiful shore.” —Compiler.]
Page 188
To begin, I wish to unhook my name from that of Col. Olcott, if you please, and
declare that as he is not responsible for my views or actions, neither am I for his. He
is bold enough and strong enough to defend himself under all circumstances, and has
never allowed his adversaries to strike without knocking out two teeth to their one. If
our views on Spiritualism are in some degree identical, and our work in the
Theosophical Society pursued in common, we are, notwithstanding, two very distinct
entities and mean to remain such. I highly esteem Colonel Olcott, as every one does
who knows him. He is a gentleman; but what is more in my eyes, he is an honest and
true man, and an unselfish Spiritualist, in the proper sense of that word. If he now
sees Spiritualism in another light than Orthodox Spiritualists would prefer, they
themselves are only to blame. He strikes at the rotten places of their philosophy, and
they do all they can to cover up the ulcers, instead of trying to cure them. He is one of
the truest and most unselfish friends that the cause has today in America, and yet he is
treated with an intolerance that could hardly be expected of anybody above the level
of the rabid Moodys and Sankeys. Surely, facts speak for themselves, and a faith so
pure, angelic and unadulterated as American Spiritualism is claimed to be, can have
nothing to fear from Heresiarchs. A house built on the rock stands unshaken by any
storm. If the New Luther-an Church can prove all its “controls, guides and visitors
from behind the Shining River,” to be disembodied spirits, why all this row? That’s
just where the trouble lies; they cannot prove it. They have tasted these fruits of
Paradise, and while finding some of them sweet and refreshing because gathered and
brought by real angel friends, so many others have proved sour and rotten to the core,
that to escape an uncurable dyspepsia, many of the best and most sincere Spiritualists
have left the communion without asking for a letter of dismissal. This is not
Spiritualism; it is as I say, a New Luther-an Church, and really, though the late Oracle
of the Banner of Light was evidently a pure and true woman—for the breath of
calumny, this raging demon of America, has never been able to soil her reputation,
and though certainly she was a wonderful medium—still I don’t see why a
Spiritualist should be ostracized, only, because after having given up St. Paul, he or
she does not strictly adhere to the doctrines of St. Conant.
Page 189
The last number of the Banner contained a letter from a Mr. Saxon, criticizing
some expressions in a recent letter of Colonel Olcott, to the New York Sun, in
defence of the Eddys. The only part which concerned me is this:
Surely, some magician with his or her Cabalistic Presto! Change! has worked
sudden and singular revolutions in the mind of this disciple of Occultism, this
gentleman who “is” and “is not” a Spiritualist. As I am the only she-Cabalist in
America, I cannot be mistaken as to the author’s meaning; so I cheerfully pick up the
glove. While I am not responsible for the changes in the barometer of Col. Olcott’s
spirituality (which, I notice, usually presage a storm), I am for the following facts:
Since I left Chittenden, I have constantly and fearlessly maintained against every one,
beginning with Dr. Beard, that their apparitions are genuine and powerful. Whether
they are “spirits of hell or goblins damned,” is a question quite separate from that of
their mediumship. Col. Olcott will not deny that when we met at Chittenden for the
first time, and afterwards—and that more than once—when he expressed suspicions
about the genuineness of May-Flower and George Dix, the spirits of Horatio’s dark
séances, I insisted that so far as I could judge, they were genuine spirits.* He will also
no doubt admit, since he is an eminently truthful man, that when the ungrateful
behaviour of the Eddys, towards whom every visitor at the Homestead will testify
that he was kinder than a brother—had made him ready to express his indignation, I
interfered in their behalf, and begged that he would never confound mediums with
other people as to their responsibility. Mediums have tried to shake my opinions of
the Eddy boys, offering in two cases that I can recall, to go to Chittenden with me and
expose the fraud. I acted the same with them that I did with the Colonel.
* [In her Scrapbook, Vol. I, p. 108, H.P.B. corrected the word “spirits” to read “phenomena.”—
Page 190
Mediums have tried likewise to convince me that Mr. Crookes’ Katie King was but
Miss F. Cook walking about, while a wax-bust, fabricated in her likeness and covered
with her clothes, lay in the cabinet, representing her as entranced. Other mediums,
regarding me as a fanatical Spiritualist, who would even be ready to connive at fraud
rather than see the cause hurt by an exposure, have let, or pretended to let, me into the
secrets of the mediumship of their fellow mediums, and sometimes incautiously into
their own. My experience shows that the worst enemies of mediums are mediums.
Not content with slandering each other, they assail and traduce their warmest and
most unselfish friends.
Whatever objection any one may have to me on account of country, religion,
occult study, rudeness of speech, cigarette smoking, or any other peculiarity, my
record in connection with Spiritualism for long years does not show me as making
money by it, or gaining any other advantage direct or indirect. On the contrary: those
who have met me in all parts of the world (which I have circumnavigated three times)
will testify that I have given thousands of dollars, imperilled my life, defied the
Catholic Church, where it required more courage to do so than the Spiritualists seem
to show about encountering Elementaries, and in camp and court, on the sea, in the
desert, in civilized and savage countries, I have been, from first to last, the friend and
champion of the mediums. I have done more: I have often taken the last dollar out of
my pocket and even necessary clothes off my back to relieve their necessities. And
how do you think I have been rewarded? BY honors, emoluments, and social
position? Have I charged a fee for imparting to the public or individuals what little
knowledge I have gathered in my travels and studies? Let those who have patronized
our principal mediums answer. I have been slandered in the most shameful way, and
the most unblushing lies circulated about my character and antecedents by the very
mediums whom I have been defending at the risk of being taken for their confederate
when their tricks have been detected.
Page 191
What has happened in American cities is no worse nor different from what has
befallen me in Europe, Asia, and Africa. I have been injured temporarily in the eyes
of good and pure men and women, by the libels of mediums whom I never saw, and
who never were in the same city with me at the same time. Of mediums who made
me the heroine of shameful histories whose action was alleged to have occurred when
I was in another part of the world, far away from the face of a white man. Ingratitude
and injustice have been my portion since I had first to do with spiritual mediums. I
have met here with [a] few exceptions, but very, very few.
Now, what do you suppose has sustained me throughout? Do you imagine that I
could not see the disgusting frauds mixed up with the most divine genuine
manifestations? Could I, having nothing to gain in money, power, or any other
consideration, have been content to pass through all these dangers, suffer all this
abuse, and receive all these injurious insults, if I saw nothing in Spiritualism but what
these critics of Col. Olcott and myself can see? Would the prospect of an eternity
passed in the angel-girt world, in company with unwashed Indian guides and military
controls, with Aunt Salleys and Professor Websters, have been inducement enough?
No, I would prefer annihilation to such a prospect! It was because I knew that
through the same golden gates which swung open to admit the elementary and those
unprogressed human spirits who are worse if anything than they, have often passed
the real and purified forms of the departed and blessed ones. Because, knowing the
nature of these spirits and the laws of mediumistic control, I have never been willing
to hold my calumniators responsible for the great evil they did, when they were often
simply the unfortunate victims of obsession by unprogressed spirits. Who can blame
me for not wishing to associate with or receive instruction from spirits who, if not far
worse, were no better nor wiser than I? Is a man entitled to respect and veneration
simply because his body is rotting under ground, like that of a dog? To me the grand
object of my life was attained and the immortality of our spirit demonstrated.
Page 192
Why should I turn necromancer and evoke the dead, who could neither teach me nor
make me better than I was? It is a more dangerous thing to play with the mysteries of
life and death than most Spiritualists imagine. Let them thank God for the great proof
of immortality afforded them in this century of unbelief and materialism; and if
divine Providence has put them on the right path, let them pursue it by all means, but
not stop to pass their time in dangerous talk indiscriminately with every one from the
other side. The land of spirits, the Summer Land as they call it here, is a terra
incognita—no believer will deny it; it is vastly more unknown to every Spiritualist, as
regards its various inhabitants, than a trackless virgin forest of Central Africa; and
who can blame the pioneer settler if he hesitates to open his door to a knock, before
assuring himself whether the visitor be man or beast?
Thus, just because of all that I have said above I proclaim myself a true
Spiritualist; because my belief is built upon a firm ground, and that no exposure of
mediums, no social scandal affecting them or others, no materialistic deductions of
exact science, or sneers and denunciations of scientists can shake it. The truth is
coming slowly to light, and I shall do my best to hasten its advent. I will breast the
current of popular prejudice and ignorance. I am prepared to endure slander, foul
insinuations, and insult in the future as I have in the past. Already, one spiritual editor,
to most effectually demonstrate his spirituality, has called me a witch. I have
survived, and hope to do so if two or two score more should do the same; but whether
I ride the air to attend my Sabbath or not, one thing is certain: I will not ruin myself
to buy broomsticks upon which to chase after every lie set afloat by editors or
mediums. H. P. BLAVATSKY.
[In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. I, p. 111, may be found a cutting from the Banner of
Light of January 15, 1876. The author, F.H.C., announces Col. Olcott’s lecture in
Boston on Jan. 30th, and deals with the subject of Col. Olcott and the Elementaries.
Page 193
He quotes from his Inaugural Address the statement concerning Mr. Felt who
had promised, by simple chemical means, to exhibit the race of beings which people
the elements. At the side of the cutting, H.P.B. remarked in pen and ink:]
And Mr. Felt has done it in the presence of nine persons in all.
[In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. I, p. 112, there is pasted a cutting from the Banner
of Light, of January 15, 1876, which is a Letter of Charles Sotheran to the Editor, in
which he explains the reasons for his resignation from the Theosophical Society and
indulges in some very uncomplimentary remarks about H.P.B. On the left margin of
this article, H.P.B. wrote in pen and ink:]
This did not prevent Mr. Sotheran to come 6 months after that and beg my
pardon, and beg on his knees to be taken into the Society again as will be proved
[Col. H. S. Olcott replied in the pages of the Spiritual Scientist to the very
outspoken criticism of Prof. Hiram Corson in regard to his Inaugural Address of
November 17, 1875. He protested against the rather rude and unfair remarks of Prof.
Corson. The last paragraph of his reply is quoted below, and the italicized words in it
are those which have been underlined by H.P.B. when she pasted the cutting of this
reply in her Scrapbook, Vol. I, p. 113:]
“As for the Theosophical Society, our present experience with a certain person,
who shall be nameless since his conduct has been such as to forfeit his right to
recognition, has been a lesson that we mean to profit by. We are considering a
proposition to organize ourselves into a secret society* so that we may pursue our
studies uninterrupted by the falsehoods and inpertinences of outside parties. When we
have secured the proof palpable of the Unseen Universe and its laws, we may publish
it to the world, unless we should then be satisfied that some other critic as courteous
and fair as Mr. Corson would denounce us as guilty of ‘assumption,’ ‘pretention,’ or
[On the right margin of the column, H.P.B. inserted the following note in pen
and ink which refers to the asterisk she inserted in Olcott’s text:]
Page 194
Till the row with Sotheran the Society was not a secret one, as will be seen by
this. But he began to revile our experiments & denounce us to Spiritualists & impede
the Society’s progress & it was found necessary to make it secret.
[Below the signature of Col. Olcott, H.P.B. pasted a small colored picture,
showing a big monkey sitting and searching diligently for parasites on the neck of a
little monkey child. Above the head of the big monkey, just under the signature, she
pasted the six-pointed star with an open eye in the center of it, and wrote the
following explanation in pen and ink:]
Prest Moloney in his future capacity of the Hindu Hanuman tenderly searching
for and delivering his younger Brothers of the Enemy- parasite.
[In the Banner of Light of February 12, 1876, Louisa Andrews wrote an article
entitled “Professor Crookes still Faithful to his Conviction,” in which she said that “it
is especially gratifying to know that this gentleman is still firmly grounded in the
faith.” To this H.P.B. appended the following footnote when she pasted the cutting
into her Scrapbook, Vol. I, p. 116:]
Firmly “grounded” in his faith in the phenomena—perfectly sceptical as to their
being produced by disembodied “Spirits”! Nei!—O, sweet sugar-plum Louisa. . . . .
[Spiritual Scientist, Boston, Vol. IV, March 23, 1876, pp. 32-34]
To the Editor of the Spiritual Scientist:
The crisis which thoughtful minds have long anticipated for Spiritualism is
approaching at last. The Cause is being mortally wounded in the house of its friends.
To what a pass things have come may be inferred from the fact that an occultist, upon
whose back all the sins of the community have been piled, is left to denounce the
behavior of one of its greatest mediums. Home endorses the greatest outrage of
modern times—the imprisonment of the poor martyr of Mazas.
Page 195
He does more; he charges felony—which could not be proved even by the
prosecutors—upon an innocent man who lies in jail. Wolves will not tear a wounded
comrade until life is extinct; but this medium, par excellence, who, in contradiction to
everyone else, tells of himself that he is “very truthful” (see Boston Herald, March
12th) cannot even show the moderation of these animals. Hardly have the prison
gates closed behind Leymarie, that unfortunate victim of Jesuitism and ecclesiastical
vengeance; hardly has the sincere petition of thousands of the most respected of
Spiritualists for the clemency of MacMahon been sent on its way to Paris, when a
brother medium, gloating over his misfortune, assails his reputation, and clasps hands
with the devilish persecutors of Spiritualism.
Let whoever doubts the innocence of the poor editor of the Revue Spirite, read
the “Procès” against the Spiritists. Let him assure himself that, notwithstanding the
best efforts of his detractors, and the French police, not one ‘single accusation could
be maintained against him, of either dishonesty or double dealing. Every locality of
Paris where Leymarie had lived with his family was searched in vain for damaging
information against him; abundant testimony in favor of his perfect integrity of
character were the only responses gathered by the spies. This is what J. Mace, the
commissary of Police, handed to M. Lachaud, the counsel for Leymarie, and the
following words closed the testimony of that official, read publicly in the Court of
Leymarie left only good remembrances in the Rue de Provence and the Rue
Vivienne. . . . The Leymarie couple had always taken care of their old and invalid
parents; their life was throughout simple and modest. . . . They have a boy and a girl,
and bring up their children very decently. . . . If Leymarie was a bad business man, on
the other hand he is an excellent father to his family, and his morality is above
suspicion. He behaves well and works untiringly; and the sole object of his life is to
rehabilitate himself.
(Signed) Commissary of Police, J. MACE.
Page 196
The “rehabilitation” consisted in paying off the debts he had contracted in
consequence of business misfortunes culminating in his failure, some years ago.
And this poor father of a family, this most ardent apostle of Spiritual faith, who
now suffers in prison for the fraudulent dealings of a knave, is coolly and publicly
stigmatized by D. D. Home as “no better than Buguet”—who is condemned by every
honest person as a swindler, a liar, and a tool of the persecuting party. One of the
shrewdest detectives of Paris is forced to testify that “his morality is above
suspicion,” but a brother medium, a man who boasts of a faith purer and higher than
Christianity itself, traduces him. He spits in the face of unmerited misfortune; he
covers with mud a reputation left unpolluted even by the Roman Catholic
persecution; and delights in kicking a man prostrated by injustice. A man felled to the
ground by the powerful enemies of that very faith of which Home constitutes himself
the immaculate champion !
True, we must not forget that years ago D. D. Home became a renegade to our
spiritual faith; that he besought on his knees Father Ventura di Raulica, of Rome, to
receive him into the Holy Mother Church. True again, the Prelate spurned him,
I wish to have nothing to do with M. Home, he is thoroughly demonized. . . . Let
him remain where he is, under the care of Father de Ravignan; he can be in no better
hands than those of this priest. . . .*
And our great medium did remain in the hands of the Catholic Priests, until
purged of his mediumship, he became a Papist himself—after having confessed his
“guides” to be devils. Home repudiates this fact in his truthful memoirs† — more
crowded with phenomena unauthenticated by witnesses, than of the other kind—he
particularly insists that he could not have promised to renounce spiritual
manifestations and did not do so.
* Gougenot des Mousseaux, La magie au dix-neuvième siècle, etc., new ed., Paris, 1864, p. 23.
† [D. D. Home, Incidents in My Life, Fifth edition, 1864. pp. 137-38.]
Page 197
He narrates very poetically his loss of powers, his longing for spiritual consolation
when life seemed to him “a blank,” and tells us why he became a Roman Catholic.
But I am prepared to prove that he could not have been baptized and received into the
Latin Church without renouncing first his “spirits” as demons. Every Parish Priest
can prove it as well.
The present is a categorical proposition, not a mere hypothetical assertion. For
him less than for any other heretic, would the Church have changed her time-honored
rites and ceremonies? No Spiritualist—let alone a world-famous medium like him—
could be accepted into the bosom of the Holy Mother Church without First,
renouncing Satan and all his works; Second, passing through the ceremony of
exorcism; Third, spitting upon these spirits who had controlled him without
possessing diplomas from the Holy See. Therefore, the only logical deduction from
these facts is that Home became first a renegade to his Mother’s Faith; then to
Spiritualism; after that he backed out of Catholicism; and now, true to his
antecedents, he becomes naturally a Judas to his brothers. Moreover, by working so
evidently in the interest of the Roman Catholic Church, he cannot escape being
identified with her champions whether open or secret. Others besides himself have a
“wonderful memory” and have been in Rome. But fortunately we are not left solely
to conjecture, to prove the falsity of his negations. In one of the ablest magazines
issued by the Roman Catholic clergy we find it stated:
The Church has declared the practice of Spiritism, evocation of spirits,
consulting them, or holding communication with them—that is, necromancy—to be
unlawful, and she prohibits it to all her children in the most positive manner, as may
be seen in the case of the American, or rather Scotchman, Daniel Home, the most
famous of modern mediums, and the most dangerous.*
* Catholic World, Vol. IX, p. 290.
Page 198
And this is the man who tells us that when he started out on his “glorious
mission” his spirit mother hailed him with these words:
My child . . . be truthful and truth-loving. . . . Yours is a glorious mission—you
will convince the infidel, cure the sick, and console the weeping.*
If the glorious mission of consoling the weeping consists in smashing the
reputation of every brother medium; in backbiting a man hardly escaped from prison,
like poor, young Firman; in cruelly turning the knife in the bleeding wounds of
Leymarie; in safely defaming the grave of Éliphas Lévi—a dead man who cannot
defend himself; in slandering and vilifying a woman, Firman’s mother, who is also
said to have passed away, and whom he calls a “drunken, low, vile wretch,” then,
verily, the mission of a spiritual medium proves itself a “glorious one”!
To those who may think that these words of mine are dictated by a personal
malevolence for a man, who for these last six months has been dragging my name in
all the ditches of calumny, I will answer, that if I alone was the sufferer I never would
have paid the slightest attention either to his verbal or published calumnies. Not a
word has been uttered by me in print, since he began throwing slurs upon me, for
being called by Colonel Olcott a “wonderful medium”; a title to which I never laid
the slightest claim. If people, ignorant of the psychological laws, were hallucinated
enough to take me for a “wonderful medium” I am not responsible for it. I, at least,
neither practised mediumship nor pretended to it. But I would ask the general
question: what, supposing that I had been a medium, or an occultist, or a magician, or
a witch, has that fact to do with either my family, my adventures, or my reputation for
morality? If by destroying the character of mediums Mr. Home could wipe out their
powers, I can understand that he might do some good to the cause by driving out all
mediums less pure, truthful, and magnanimous than himself.
* Home, op. cit., pp. 25-26.
Page 199
But as it is, I can only see, in common with other sensible people, that his course
is dictated by his obligations to a POWER hostile to all mediums, and approved by a
petty vanity only to be appeased by the immolation of a fresh victim each day.
If it would have added to his malicious happiness he might have accused me, for
what I care, of an intrigue with Anti-Christ himself, and insinuated, in[to] the bargain,
that the latter “knew me to his sorrow.” I would never have gone to the trouble of
answering him. But, upon reading the second part of his letter published by his
accommodating friend Dr. Bloede, my spirit revolted in me against such inhumanity.
Any amount of wrong done by him to me, who until now, have always defended him,
would have been venial, in comparison with his parricidal, fratricidal and sacrilegious
attacks upon the suffering mediums, and dead as well as living persons. What is my
individual reputation, my personal happiness, when compared to our great cause?
This Cause of Truth, for the acceptance of which, by Science and the Christian
World, I am ready to lay down my life without a moment’s hesitation. Those who
know me, well know I speak sincerely and say but what I feel. Because I study
Occultism, or Ancient Spiritualism, I am thought an enemy to the cause pure and
simple. Never was there a more erroneous impression. My only object is to
demonstrate Spiritualism mathematically, to force it upon Science; and how can we
expect the world to receive its grand truths, while it is left in the hands of those who,
through ignorance of its philosophy based on scientific principles, do it more wrong
than good by their blind fanaticism, and who stone its most ardent supporters
Every day sees a reinforcement of our doctrine that mediums are controlled by
spirits of more than one kind. All metaphysical Occultism aside, it rests upon strictly
logical conclusions drawn from well-established syllogisms. To use an expression of
Victor Hugo, God is demonstrated to us mathematically; God, therefore, is the Great
Unit—the Monad, the Alpha and Omega, the Symbol of Universal Harmony which
represents Divinity. According to Pythagoras, this Unit implies “Peace, Order, Justice
and Harmony, and is Indivisible.” Such is true Spiritualism.
Page 200
As soon as the Unit becomes Two or the Duad, it is the “origin of Contrast, Diversity,
Inequality, Divisibility, Separation.” Such Modern Spiritualism threatens to become.
Two, taken by itself, is, in Occultism, the Evil Principle—a number of bad augury,
characterizing Disorder, Confusion and Dissension; nevertheless, two are
indispensable in Nature, but they must be maintained in equilibrium, by keeping to
the geometrical straight line—symbolical of impartiality. Daemon est Deus inversus.
Let us now trace the imaginary line and make it the beam of a scale, in the two
pans of which are placed equal units, respectively representing good and evil, light
and shadow, spirit and matter, God and Devil. So long as these opposite forces act
only upon their internal segments, and do not trespass upon their external ones; so
long as we keep on the strict line between the two, we will be in the right path. For
the Law of Compensation is strict and impartial justice, and justice means
punishment of transgression, as well as the reward of welldoing. If an offence should
go unpunished, it would be as unjust as for a good deed to go unrewarded. Mercy
without justice would imply weakness, and to suffer even goodness to be carried to
extremes without check, would suggest an idea incompatible with a mathematically
demonstrated and Harmonious Deity.
If we can believe in a God at all, it is in one who is the embodiment of
Harmony; and, as we see, harmony can only exist where there is a just equilibrium.
Such a God the Egyptians symbolized in a cubical stone with a true and square
surface at each of its sides. Theoretically, it represented good as well as evil, and thus
the union of God-Spirit and God-matter was indicated in this admirably concrete
Image. If either side had protruded the fraction of an inch, nay, a hair’s breadth,
beyond the exact square, there would be no symmetry, and the stone could not have
represented Deity. So, too, if either pan of our imaginary scale goes down, the
descending unit becomes Evil; and Unity, or God, is conquered by the Duad, or
Page 201
Now for our conclusions: if Home had confined his abuse to myself, who claims
to be neither infallible nor immaculate, but have ever furnished, on the contrary, the
choicest tit-bits of scandal, to palates like his, by my manner of life, no one could
complain. Even I might have conceded that this great medium had been given to act
as the scourge of the Law of Compensation, and humbly accepted my punishment.
But, he now includes me among a number of victims, two of whom—Leymarie and
Firman—have already been victimized by human “Justice,” upon the testimony of a
self-confessed perjurer. Thus, by stepping into the shoes of another executioner, he
makes the already unbalanced scales to kick the beam. Harmony is destroyed, but the
occult theorem is demonstrated. To paraphrase in the form of a syllogism our three
propositions, we may say:
Major Premise: Like attracts like; good and pure spirits are only attracted by
harmony. Bad ones by discord.
Minor Premise: Mr. Home is in antagonism with his brother mediums, and
moved by feelings, the reverse of good.
Conclusion: Ergo, Mr. Home’s “guides” can only be dark spirits; or, as his
Mother Church would call them—Devils.
To state it more mathematically still; Mr. Home, by his malevolence, destroys
the perfect square of Harmony, and draws evil to himself. He disfigures the former
into a right-angled triangle, and, thus becoming a monstrous mediumistic hypotenuse,
subtends the right angle of dissension, and forcing it through all the mediums who
come in his way, impales them unmercifully upon its sharp point.
This is what w e call testing spirits and mediums by the Occult Pythagorean and
the Euclidean-mathematical method!
I was accused in the Banner, by our sagacious Dr. Bloede, of being a secret
emissary of the Jesuits; and now, this poor, deluded, but sincere Spiritualist, walks
right into the snare set by the very agent and pupil of Father de Ravignan! The tree is
known by its fruits. The world of Spiritualists cannot content itself until worshipping
D. D. Home as the only spiritual medium, the immaculate agent of the Invisible
Page 202
Rumor whispers that he has lost his powers. We have his own confession in his book
(Incidents in My Life) what mental consolation he resorts to when the loss of power
leaves in his life “a blank.” Who will dare say that his letters and publications do not
tend towards helping the Catholic clergy in their foul, secret conspiracy against
Spiritism and Spiritualism? Leymarie was sentenced against all justice, either human
or divine. His sentence, and the mode of administering justice will remain for ever a
stain on the French Magistrature, and just at the moment when hundreds of honest
hearts beat in expectation of the poor man’s pardon—just when Firman, escaping
from the clutches of a prejudiced law, tries his best to rehabilitate himself, there
comes a denunciation from an authority on mediumship. A book which the Catholic
organ significantly calls “the most dangerous,” exposing dark séance-ism, rope-tyingism,
and every ism except Home-ism, is suspended over our doomed heads, like the
sword of Damocles. The moment for its appearance is calculated with a wonderful
precision. It comes just in time after the trial of the French Spiritists. It will force
thousands to shrink from investigating that which is proved to be 80 per cent a fraud
by Mr. Home himself, and thousands of others to break off every connection with
such a “low, shameful ism.” Finally, if we may judge the future from the past and
present, this book will be the cruelest blow at the character of the poor mediums that
they have ever been called to suffer from.
Would to God that D. D. Home, the immaculate medium, purified as he is now
by the Catholic baptism, would fill up his book with all the disreputable rumors,
either truthful or lying, about myself alone, that he can collect. It is my fervent prayer
that he would cast his venomous slime solely upon my selected person; for, verily, I
have a broad back, and can stand any amount of abuse from such world-famous
scandal-mongers as he is known to be. But if he is yet worthy the name of a human
being; if all charity and compassion has not died out of that heart which seems to be
in full possession of the wickedest fiends; if he does not wish to disgust the world
with Spiritualism, then—let him abstain from slandering his brother mediums.
Page 203
For, I prophesy that the forthcoming book, to use the words of one of the most
respected correspondents of spiritual papers, will prove an “ASSASSINATION,” not
a warfare.*
[In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. I, p. 124, there is a cutting from the Boston Sunday
Herald of March, 1876. It is a letter from Dr. G. Bloede to the Editor of the paper.
Under the subtitle of “Home’s Doubts of the Mediumship of Mme. Blavatsky,” the
writer quotes from Col. Olcott’s People from the Other World in which he speaks of
H.P.B. as “one of the most remarkable mediums in the world,” but adds that “at the
sam e time her mediumship is totally different from that of any person I ever met, for,
instead of being controlled by spirits to do their will, it is she who seems to control
them to do her bidding.” Dr. Bloede comments on this by saying: “If we find that Mr.
Home’s opinion of that eminent foreigner essentially differs from that of Col. Olcott,
in regard to her supposed mediumship as well as otherwise, we must not disregard the
fact that he knew her as early as 1858.” To this H.P.B. appended the following
remarks in pen and ink:]
Home doubting my mediumship proved that he is a genuine and even a reliable
medium. H. P. Blavatsky was NEVER a medium except, perhaps, in her earliest
[The next paragraph of the same article deals with the burying of Russian
dignitaries (in this case H.P.B.’s father) with their decorations, Dr. Bloede quoting
Col. Olcott again on this subject. He also quotes D. D. Home who provides the
testimony that no such custom exists in Russia. The decorations are carried as far as
the tomb, and are later returned to the Government. At this point, H.P.B. added the
following in pen and ink :]
* [Consult the Bio-Bibliographical Index, s. v. HOME, for further data about this medium.—
Page 204
And who ever thought or said they were! It is not a decoration but a buckle, you
Spiritualistic fool. It ought tobe remembered also, that Mr. D. D. Home who was
twice tried for swindling (Mrs. Lyon once) never—knew or even saw me in his whole
life, but, has certainly gathered most carefully the dirtiest gossip possible about
Nathalie Blavatsky. Home is a liar and poor Dr. Bloede was turned into a cat by this
mediumistic monkey to draw the chestnuts for him out of the fire, as the Sp. Scientist
[In connection with another cutting on the subject of D. D Home and his relation
to Spiritualism, H.P.B. makes the following brief remark in her Scrapbook:] and Mr.
Home is an irresponsible medium.
[Spiritual Scientist, Boston, Vol. IV, April 27, 1876, pp. 85-7]
To the Editor of the Spiritual Scientist:
Dear Sir,—In advices just received from St. Petersburg, I am requested to
translate and forward to the Scientist for publication, the protest of the Honorable
Alexander Aksakoff, Imperial Counsellor of State, against the course of the
professors of the university respecting the spiritualistic investigation. The document
appears, in Russian, in the Vedomosty, the official journal of St. Petersburg. This
generous, high-minded, courageous gentleman has done the possible, and even the
impossible, in order to open the spiritual eyes of those incurable moles who fear the
daylight of truth as the burglar fears the policeman’s “bull’s eye.”
The heartfelt thanks and gratitude of every Spiritualist ought to be forwarded to
this noble defender of the cause, who regretted neither his time, trouble nor money to
help the propagation of the truth.
New York, April 19th, 1876.
Page 205
According to my promise to the Commission to help them in extending their
invitations to mediums, I have neglected no effort to the accomplishment of the said
purpose. Nevertheless but few mediums have shown any desire to come to Russia,
and those who did were unsuitable for a preliminary examination, as their
mediumistical powers were not of a nature to afford any chance to investigate
physical phenomena. Finally, and for reasons previously detailed to the commission, I
concluded to bring with me from England the two Petty boys. The mediumistic
powers of these boys proved too weak, not only for them to be tested by a committee
but even at private séances in my own house. Having obtained no manifestations
worthy of any attention at all—as already published by me—at the committee’s
investigation, after four séances I declined to waste any more of its time in
investigating the Petty boys.
Immediately after that, on the 15th of December last, Professor Mendeleyeff
delivered his lecture on Spiritism. The haste exhibited by him on this occasion, the
precipitancy with which the failures of the four séances were reviewed, when the
Scientific Commission had just adopted a resolution to make not less than forty
experimental examinations, did not agree, in my opinion, with the impartial and
serious character which we have the right to expect in a truly scientific investigation.
This lecture did not appear in print, and it was therefore impossible to either reply to
its errors or to point out its one-sidedness. But in what was declared by Mr.
Mendeleyeff, the attitude of the commission toward the object of their examination
was very clearly defined. Prof. Mendeleyeff—at whose suggestion the commission
was organized, and under whose direction it acted—openly avowed himself an enemy
of Spiritualism. The commission, acting in unity with Mr. Mendeleyeff, was
evidently anxious that the results of its further investigations should prove as fruitless
as the results of the first four séances with the Petty boys. The difficulties in the way
of obtaining an impartial examination multiplied tenfold; and for my part I felt fully
that it would be useless for me to attempt any further assistance to the commission.
But as I had already taken steps to invite here other mediums, and had succeeded in
inducing a lady to come—she is possessed of remarkable mediumistic powers, and
perfectly answers the requirements of the commission’s investigation—I decided
upon proceeding further. I hoped that I might be mistaken as to the predispositions of
the commission. Furthermore, I desired to ascertain how it would conduct its
investigations when it had to do with a true medium in the full acceptation of this
word, and one moreover who was not professional.
Page 206
This lady was totally independent as to her social and financial position, and
had consented to take part in such an unpopular position merely for the sake of
promoting the scientific object ostensibly in view.
I had the honor of introducing this medium to the commission in the person of
Mrs. C. From the very beginning of the séances, the physical manifestations which
characterize this lady’s mediumship—namely, loud raps, movements and levitations
of the table—occurred with great strength. Of the experimental séances, we had in
this second series of four—on the 11th, 25th, 27th and 29th of January. The séance at
which the medium, by reason of sickness, could not attend was, although the
commission had been notified twenty-four hours beforehand, counted by its members
as one of the forty which it had bound itself to hold.
During the experiments of this second member series, we learned the following:
1. The commission failed to act up to its resolution of May the 9th, 1875, that
immediately after each séance a report should be written out and signed by the
witnesses on both sides. Instead of that, the reports were filed several days later, and
not in the presence of witnesses, but were presented to them for signature when
already prepared by the commission, and when they could not be altered in any
2. The plan itself of these reports underwent a thorough change. The
commission saw fit to accept the private testimony of persons not belonging to the
commission, but who may be said to have been present at the séances, since they had
been eavesdropping and peeping through the keyholes. Such uncalled-for and
personal testimony, based on subjective impressions, either amounts to nothing at a
scientific investigation and therefore is inadmissible, or if the contrary, then the
commission itself was useless, for it was organized, we must suppose, for the very
reason of replacing such personal and subjective evidence with unanimous and
impersonal experiment.
3. Having found room for personal evidence of its own choosing, the
commission nevertheless rejected my offer to select a lady of their acquaintance for
the purpose of examining the feet of the lady medium, under the pretext that personal
testimony was not convincing.
4. The reports of the experimental commission were drawn carelessly and
inaccurately. It is impossible to gather any definite idea in these reports either of the
manifestations which took place or of the condition under which they occurred. Some
of the narrative does not coincide with what happened, while some manifestations
that transpired are not even mentioned. All this is demonstrated in the individual
reports made by myself and other witnesses.
Page 207
5. As to the reports for publication, the commission resolved neither to allow
them to be carried to the private domiciles of the witnesses for signature, nor to
furnish copies, nor to allow such to be taken by the witnesses who were present. Such
an order of procedure compelled the witnesses who were appointed to watch the
interests of the medium, to present their own private reports, and was as strange as it
was embarrassing.
In view of such a state of affairs, in my report of February the 5th, I had the
honor to explain to the commission that before we could proceed with the
experiments at all, the witnesses for the medium must be permitted to acquaint
themselves previously with the general reports, which had not been as vet presented
to us for signature, as well as with the private reports of the outside members of the
After that, on the 13th of February, I read in the rooms of the Physical Society
the protocol (or report) of the third séance of January the 27th. As to the report of the
fourth séance, I learned that it was not yet even filled up. Concerning the private
reports, Mr. Mendeleyeff informed me that the committee had neither assigned any
particular time nor order for their presentation. Thus, it remained for us witnesses to
advance without knowing what lay in wait for us. At the same time the little of which
we had assured ourselves was of a nature to make it very difficult for us to proceed.
Of all the reports which had appeared, the most prominent were two extended ones
by Mr. Mendeleyeff. They embodied a long series of undemonstrated affirmations
which tended to convey to every reader the impression that all the manifestations
mentioned in the reports were simply tricks consciously performed by the hands and
feet of the medium. And in the report of Mr. Bobileff, who, as well as Mr.
Mendeleyeff, attended but two séances, we see indicated a full conviction of the
spuriousness of the phenomena, and that the medium produced them herself at will
by muscular contraction. Moreover, the observations upon which both of these
gentlemen try to base their conclusions as to what took place at the séances were not
communicated by them to the other witnesses present, thus making it impossible for
them to either verify or correct that which was suspicious. I am quite ready to admit
that what took place was very far from being surrounded with such conditions as to
warrant the commission after only four seances to come to a final conclusion
favorable to the genuineness of mediumistic phenomena. If, after the forty séances
agreed upon, an unfavorable report had been made upon the basis that the
experiments had been unsatisfactory, then the decision might have been respected by
every one. But in view of the methods to which the commission has now stooped, all
further investigation, at least with the present medium, is impossible. I have no right
to leave Mrs. C. in ignorance of what people write about her, and these writings
consist of dishonorable attempts to prove that she is an impostor.
Page 208
Under the circumstances I do not feel myself warranted in any longer subjecting a
private person, and especially a lady, to such uncalled-for accusations, which to
anyone who feels himself to be innocent of intended fraud are highly insulting.
Thus, this series of investigations, with an undoubtedly good medium, has
shown me very clearly, that the conclusion to which I arrived after hearing Mr.
Mendeleyeff’s lecture as to the preconceived intentions of our commission was
But, apart from the above reason, there are two more which preclude the
possibility of my having anything more to do with the Scientific Commission.
So far back as on the 10th of November last, I reported to the committee that the
term fixed by them—namely, May 1876—was too short to enable us to bring
mediums to St. Petersburg, and therefore begged to be informed whether I ought to
continue corresponding with foreign mediums who might consent to come here after
this term. In consequence of this, the committee discussed the matter in my presence,
and decided to change the term of investigation into a definite number of séances. I
was then notified that the commission had decided upon having not less than forty
séances, excluding the months of vacations. Professor Butleroff then left with me the
commission, both of us believing that there had been established a clear
understanding between the members and ourselves that these forty séances were
exclusive of the May term.
Under this impression l proceeded with my arrangements with mediums, and
succeeded in engaging the services of one of the greatest and most famous American
mediums, Dr. H. Slade, who agreed to reach here towards the fall.
To my amazement I learned that on the 15th of January the commission had met
again, to discuss the subject of the term, and had decided that the forty séances must
be confined to the month of May, 1876.
Upon what grounds the committee came to such a conclusion, clearly contrary to
the interest of the investigation itself, is more than I can tell; but the fact is that we
have no mediums in readiness for them. Mrs. C. only promised to remain until the 1st
of March. Moreover, neither myself nor anyone else could have guaranteed to the
commission for May, the forty séances to which they had consented to sacrifice
The second reason is, that after the séance with Mrs. C., the commission, at the
meeting of January the 15th, had resolved that “with a view to save time with
mediums, they would experiment only with apparatus prepared by themselves.” And
after séance No. 3, the commission categorically demanded that they should
immediately proceed to crucial tests, with the appliance of their own various
apparatuses. Such a resolution and demand on their part upset everything.
Page 209
Every investigation in the domain of Nature must be divided into two definite
periods: the preliminary period of the authentication of every manifestation by means
of observation, and the final period of investigation. It is an easy matter to note a fact;
it is very difficult to investigate and verify it. Thousands of people testify that the
mediumistic phenomena exist; it is the duty of the commission, if they once
undertook such a social question, to stoop to the level of the crowd, and first see that
which the crowd sees, and in the same manner as it sees it; and only when familiar
with the superficial aspect of the question to apply the apparatus which the case
seems to suggest. No one prevented the committee—even had they followed the
method of the crowd—from arriving at an unfavorable conclusion. But the demand—
after holding but three séances, and when the manifestations had hardly begun—for
crucial tests with apparatuses, when the members of the commission themselves
could not be aware what set of complete apparatus might be required—was
something which it was impossible not to regard as diametrically opposed to the idea
of a regular course of determined experiments.
In the present most deplorable state of affairs, a negative result of the
investigation, obtained through the apparatus furnished by the commission, would not
stand as a proof of the uselessness of the said apparatus itself, but be taken as a
demonstration of the non-existence of the mediumistic force. Therefore, every step
which might be conceded by those who defend the reality of the mediumistic
manifestations would only compromise our affair.
It is unwarranted on the part of Professor Mendeleyeff to reproach us, witnesses,
that “in our writings we lay a great stress on the value of scientific experiments, and
when they are offered to us, we obstinately refuse them and demand an adherence to
the valueless testimony of the school of the crowd.” To clear away, once for all, every
misunderstanding, I deem it a duty to say that we do not in the least reject the
scientific, that is, experimental and instrumental methods of investigation for the
manifestations. We only assert that such a method is liable to bring to no great result
until after a sufficient acquaintance with the phenomena, by way of ordinary
observation. I am fully authorized to believe, that if the committee had continued
their ordinary séances with Mrs. C., accepting such conditions as are generally
adopted by the “crowd” for the prevention of fraud, the several kinds of phenomena,
such as raps, movements and levitation of the table, might have been displayed to
such a satisfactory degree as to force the commission to see in them “manifestations
worthy of investigation.” The happiest issue of the promised forty séances could not
have been greater than this; but this alone might have forced the commission to
undertake further experiments.
In consideration of all the foregoing facts, any further interference on my part
becomes, as I have said, impossible.
Page 210
But as it is more than evident that the investigation undertaken by the commission did
not primarily depend on my personal help, therefore I may be left to hope that it will
find means to select the help of other persons in order to bring their experiments to a
fuller and more satisfactory result. My personal trouble I certainly do not regret, for I
considered it my duty to comply with the invitation of the Society of Physical
Sciences. So far as I could, and my knowledge went, I have fulfilled my promise; and
at the same time a very important object—at least for myself—has been obtained: the
attitude of our commission towards the subject, and the object of their investigation
has been made clear.
In conclusion I beg leave to add that so long as the commission hold to the
policy of flatly denying the phenomena, and see in them only charlatanry, they will
neither attain to the object of their researches which was sketched in the first offer
made by Mr. Mendeleyeff, nor will they satisfy those who certify to the existence of
such manifestations. The committee forgets that the mediumistic power has its origin,
force and support in domestic circles and in their own experiments against which the
policy of negation and fraud is powerless. Such questions which have attained a
social importance, cannot be solved by negation and an ignorance of them. Let
Science and knowledge be on the side of the negators and skeptics, but upon the other
side we have the conviction in the reality of facts; which conviction we have obtained
by the evidence of our senses and by reason.
St. Petersburg, March 4th, 1876.
Translated and prepared with the notes and explanations, for the Spiritual
Scientist, by “BUDDHA.”
[Banner of Light, Boston, Vol. XXXIX, No. 5, April 29, 1876, p. 8]
To the Editor of the Banner of Light:
Dear Sir,—I have received from St. Petersburg the protests of Professor
Butleroff and the Honorable Alexander Aksakoff, with a request from the latter
gentleman that I will translate for our spiritual papers their just criticisms upon the
action of the University Commission for the investigation of spiritual phenomena. I
forward you the Butleroff paper.
Page 211
The Commission has acted so unfairly at the preliminary séances, that these two
gentlemen have declined to have anything more to do with it. Dr. Slade was about to
sail for Europe under a contract to place himself at the disposal of the Commission
(God help him!) but by the last mail instructions have been received by us to
terminate this contract and make a new one. Dr. Slade having consented to the terms,
will visit St. Petersburg, but will not have anything to do with the Commission.
I deeply regret that Russian men of science should have shown themselves as
narrow-minded and unfair as the Willis persecutors of 1857, and the lofty souls of the
Royal Society, who declined the invitation of the Dialectical Society.
The documents appear in Russian, in the official journals of St. Petersburg. The
evidence seems to show that the epidemic which, for the lack of another name, I
propose to call PSYCHOPHOBIA, has attacked the scientists of my country as soon
as the investigation of phenomenal Spiritualism and mediumism threatened to turn
Respectfully yours,
New York, April 21st, 1876.
[This article is followed by H.P.B.’s translation of Prof. Butleroff’s Paper
addressed to the Commission appointed by the Society of Physical Sciences of the St.
Petersburg University for the investigation of the spiritual phenomena. At one point,
H.P.B. appended the following outspoken footnote:]
If I did not have it from Mr. Aksakoff himself, I would have been disposed to
indignantly deny the charge that Russian scientists could stoop to the dirty methods
of the police-spy. They had so little confidence, it appears, in their own experience
and their ingenious apparatus, that they posted persons not officially connected with
the Commission to peep through cracks and key holes!
Page 212
[Banner of Light, Boston, Vol. XXXIX, No. 7, May 13, 1876, p. 8]
To the Editor of the Banner of Light:
Dear Sir,—I take the earliest opportunity to warn mediums generally—but
particularly American mediums—that a plot against the cause has been hatched in St.
Petersburg. The particulars have just been received by me from one of my foreign
correspondents, and may be relied upon as authentic.
It is now commonly known that Professor Wagner, the geologist, has boldly
come out as a champion for mediumistic phenomena. Since he witnessed the
wonderful manifestations of Brédif, the French medium, he has issued several
pamphlets, reviewed at great length Colonel Olcott’s People from the Other World,
and excited and defied the anger of all the Scientific Psychophobists of the Imperial
University. Fancy a herd of mad bulls rushing at the red flag of a picador, and you
will have some idea of the effect of Wagner’s Olcott pamphlet upon his colleagues!
Chief among them is the Chairman of the Scientific Commission which has just
exploded with a report of what they did not see, at séances never held! Goaded to
fury by the defense of Spiritualism, which they had intended to quietly butcher, this
individual suddenly took the determination to come to America, and is now probably
on his way. Like a Samson of science, he expects to tie our foxes of mediums
together by the tails, set fire to them and turn them into the corn of those Philistines,
Wagner and Butleroff.
Let me give mediums a bit of friendly caution. If this Russian Professor should
turn up at a séance, keep a sharp eye upon him, and let everyone do the same; give
him no private séances at which there is not present at least one truthful and impartial
Spiritualist. Some scientists are not to be trusted. My correspondent writes that the
Professor “goes to America to create a great scandal, burst up Spiritualism and turn
the laugh on Prof. Wagner, Messrs. Aksakoff and Butleroff.”
Page 213
The plot is very ingeniously contrived: he is coming here under the pretext of the
Centennial, and will attract as little attention as possible among the mediums.
But, Mr. Editor, what if he should meet the fate of Hare and become a
Spiritualist! What a wailing would there not be in the Society of Physical Sciences! I
shudder at the mortification which should await my poor countrymen.
But another distinguished Russian scientist is also coming, for whom I bespeak
a very different reception. Professor Kittara, the greatest technologist of Russia, and a
member of the Emperor’s Privy Council, is really sent by the government to the
Centennial. He is deeply interested in Spiritualism, very anxious to investigate it, and
will bring the proper credentials from Mr. Aksakoff. The latter gentleman writes me
that every civility and attention will be shown Professor Kittara, as his report, if
favorable, will have a tremendous influence upon public opinion.
The unfairness of the University Commission has, it seems, produced a reaction.
I translate the following from a paper which Mr. Aksakoff has sent me:
We hear that the Commission for the investigation of mediumism, which was
formed by the Society of Physical Sciences attached to the University, is preparing to
issue a report of its labors [?!]. It will appear as an appendix to the monthly periodical
of the Chemical and Physical Societies. Meanwhile, another Commission is being
formed, but this time its members will not be supplied from the “Physical Science
Society,” but from the Medical Society. Nevertheless, several members of the former
will be invited to join, as well as the friends of mediumism, and others who would be
able to offer important suggestions pro or con. We hear that the formation of this new
Commission is warmly advocated, its necessity having been shown in the breach of
faith by the “Physical Science Society,” its failure to hold the promised forty séances,
its premature adoption of unfair conclusions, and the strong prejudices of the
Let us hope that this new organization may prove more honorable than its
predecessor (peace to its ashes!).
Page 214
[In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. I, pp. 143-154, there are a number of cuttings from
various papers in connection with the burial of Baron de Palm which took place May
28, 1876. This ceremony and the subsequent cremation of the body are fully
described by Col. Olcott in his Old Diary Leaves, Vol. I, pp. 147-184.
There is in the Scrapbook, Vol. I, p. 154, a much faded photograph of the Baron;
on both sides of the picture, H.P.B. wrote in pen and ink as follows:]
de Palm
famous as
a corpse”
Buried May
28, 1876
[In connection with an exaggerated newspaper account of the Baron’s alleged
estate, H.P.B. marked certain passages in blue pencil and wrote:]
The Society paid for the funeral.
[In her Scrapbook, Vol. I, pp. 155-56, H.P.B. pasted a cutting from the Newark
Daily Journal of June 2, 1876. The Editor calls the special attention of the readers to
an exposition of Spiritualism by Frederic Thomas of the Theosophical Society of
New York. He says that “it will be found full of interest,” to which H.P.B. added in
pen and ink:]
and of prejudiced statements, unverified hypotheses and deliberate lies. Mr. Fred
Thomas, once a member of the Theosophical Society, was made to resign after this
article. Sergeant Cox of London to whom he sent it, treated its author with the utmost
Page 215
[Banner of Light, Boston, Vol. XXXIX, June 24,1876, p. 8]
Special Correspondence of the Banner of Light.
NEW YORK, June 15th, 1876.
Dear Sir,—By the last Russian mail I received the highly important document
which I enclose. It is the sharpest rebuke that a scientific body ever had within my
remembrance. The Commission for the investigation of the spiritual phenomena was
composed of our most eminent scientists, and when they agreed to devote forty
séances to the investigation of what they term “mediumistic manifestations,” every
one expected them to make good their promise. The country was as sure that the
bottom of the thing would be reached as they would have been if Wagner had
undertaken to report on zoology, Butleroff on chemistry, Mendeleyeff himself on
physics. But when, after four miserable sittings, Mendeleyeff prostituted his great
reputation to pander to ignorant prejudice, the whole influential class of the Empire
rose in indignation. The best papers in the country—which had not a shade of
sympathy with or knowledge of Spiritualism—agreed as to the insufficiency of his
arguments and the injustice of his conclusions upon the facts stated. One of them
declares that Mohammed did not have half as good a basis for Mohammedanism as
the Spiritists for Spiritualism, and that the matter must be investigated thoroughly and
impartially. A universal laugh was raised at the Commission’s assertion that all the
mediumistic phenomena can be explained by mechanical contrivances hid beneath
the medium’s petticoats!
The names attached to this protest represent the best blood of Russia. It is the
most influentially signed document, probably, that ever appeared in an official journal
of my country.
Page 216
It represents a large part of our wealth, intellect and family influence. Some of the
names will be recognized by your readers as historical, and as having shed lustre
upon the Russian name the wide world over. Its effect upon the scientists, as I learn
from private letters, has been amusing and wholesome. Mendeleyeff has been forced
into a corner, like a fugitive rat, and is now preparing his defense in the shape of a
book, we are told! Professor Wagner’s favorable review of Colonel Olcott’s People
from the Other World has contributed largely toward creating the excitement in the
ranks of our enemies.
The Russians are waiting eagerly to see Dr. Slade’s phenomena. A contract has
been signed today, which binds him to report in St. Petersburg on the 1st of
November next, and remain there three months. The Theosophical Society, as you are
aware, has made a very careful and patient investigation. Two out of three skeptics on
the Committee were converted beyond backsliding, and the manifestations were
found genuine. A copy of the official report was duly forwarded to St. Petersburg, as
a sedative for the Russian psychophobists .
The following document was sent to the office of the St. Petersburg Vedomosty,
accompanied by this letter:
Mr. Editor,—On the 25th of March last, the Scientific Commission organized
for the investigation of the mediumistic phenomena published its report; and a month
later, namely, on the 24th and 25th of April, Professor Mendeleyeff delivered two
lectures about Spiritualism. In the absence of popular appreciation of the
Commission, Mr. Mendeleyeff undertook the trouble of himself pronouncing a
panegyric upon its activity! At his last lecture, he expressed the idea that in the
reports of the Commission, Truth asserted itself with resistless force, and society,
suddenly dazzled by its light, involuntarily bowed its head before the verdict of
science. The following protest, signed by over one hundred and thirty persons,
testifies to the fact that in our society, notwithstanding the opinion of Mr.
Mendeleyeff, there are persons who can distinguish a difference between Science and
his Commission.
The insufficiency of the verbal reports of the latter has become evident even to
our public papers. What follows is a new evidence of this fact.
Page 217
In its April number, the Otechestveniya Zapisky, with a bearing of quite an
Olympic pride toward Spiritism (very amusing, by the way), confesses, nevertheless,
that the Commission of the Physical Society, which had undertaken to expose and
crush out of existence spiritual phenomena, did not at all attain its object. According
to a very just remark of the said Review, the Commission vainly endeavors to conceal
its true character of a police-detective agency, and surrounds itself with a scientific
lustre. Its evident object was to condemn “a heresy,” and not to make a scientific
investigation: that it plainly never had in view. Therefore, the Otechestveniya Zapisky
calls the members of the Commission “the modern fathers of orthodox science,” who,
zealous for the welfare of true science, determined to convene an Ecumenical Council
of orthodox scientists, to sit in judgment on the “heretical doctrine,” with the full
assurance that no one will dare to dispute the infallibility of its predetermined and
oral verdict.
We believe that the above opinion, which issues from the very stronghold of the
avowed enemies of Spiritism, reflects in a manner which cannot be improved, the
general opinion respecting the pretended “investigations” of the Commission.
The learned Commission organized for the examination of mediumistic
phenomena, had for its object—if we may credit the assertion of Mr. Mendeleyeff
which appeared in the Golos (No. 137, 1875)—to carefully investigate “these
manifestations,” and thereby “render a great and universal public service.”
From the public lecture of Mr. Mendeleyeff we learned that the principal object
of the Commission’s labour was to be the following mediumistic phenomena:
Movements of inanimate objects, with and without contact of hands; levitation of
various objects; the alteration of their weight; movements of objects and percussive
sounds therein, indicating an intelligent producing cause, by conversations or
responses—a phenomenon which the Commission termed dialogistic; writing
produced by inanimate objects, or psychographical phenomena; and finally, the
formation and apparition of detached members of the human frame, and of full forms,
named by the Commission mediumo-plastic phenomena. To the investigation of these
manifestations the Commission pledged itself to devote not less than forty séances.
It now announces in its Report of March 21st (Golos, No. 85 1876) that it has
finished its labors, that “its object is attained,” and that its unanimous verdict is that
“mediumistic phenomena are produced either by unconscious movements or
conscious fraud,” and that the “Spiritist doctrine is nothing but superstition.”
Page 218
This verdict of the Commission is based, according to its own declaration, upon
eight séances, at the first four of which there were no mediumistic phenomena at all,
and at the last four, the Commission only saw a few movements of the table and
heard a few raps!
But where are the promised experiments of the Commission with movements of
objects without contact, the alteration of weight of bodies, the dialogistic,
psychographic and mediumo-plastic wonders? Of the limited programme of
investigation which the Commission prescribed for itself, it appears that it did not
carry out even the fourth part. But on the other hand, without the slightest warrant, it
busied itself with the doctrine of Spiritism, which did not enter in its programme at
Therefore, we, the undersigned, deem it our duty to declare that by such a
superficial and hasty treatment of the grave subject under investigation, the
Commission has by no means solved the problem which it undertook to demonstrate.
It evidently did not gather data enough to warrant it in either accepting or rejecting
the occurrence of mediumistic phenomena.
Having confined itself to but eight séances, the Commission had no reasonable
warrant to declare its labors finished; still less had it the right, after only eight
séances, to pronounce an authoritative opinion either pro or con. Having undertaken
this investigation in the interest of a certain portion of society, the Commission has
not satisfied this interest; it has left society in its former state of uncertainty as to
phenomena whose reality has been vouched by so many witnesses worthy of credit
and the highest esteem.
Therefore, we, the undersigned, feel compelled to express a hope, that this
investigation of spiritual phenomena promised in the name of science may be pushed
to its legitimate conclusion, in a manner commensurate with the dignity and
exactness of true science, if not by the same persons who have already pronounced
their verdict, even as to things that they did not see, then by others who are prepared
to make a more patient and careful investigation. Only such an one can render “a
great and universal public service.”
Page 219
Page 220
[The Spiritual Scientist published “A Letter from D. D. Home” in its issue of
July 6, 1876. The letter was written in self-defence against an anonymous “Comte”
who attacked Home because he insulted a lady. In the first paragraph of this letter,
Home writes as follows:
“I have ever striven to be an honest man, and I never condescended to write an
anonymous letter, or to make charges sotto voce against anyone. What I say I can
prove:* I sign my name. Sign yours!”
H.P.B. pasted the cutting in her Scrapbook, Vol. I, pp. 164-65, underlined as
shown above, added an asterisk, and wrote in pen and ink the following remarks:]
Except in the case of anonymous and infamous letters sent to a poor lady at
Geneva, traced to him (D. D. Home) and for which an English officer, a friend of
Prince Wittgenstein went to flog him. His behaviour was so cowardly that the officer
left in disgust, “without even whipping him a little” adds the Prince who wrote the
facts to Col. Olcott.
[In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. I, p. 185, there is a cutting which gives an account
most likely from the Boston Herald of October, 1876, of various “materializations”
produced by Mrs. Bennett, a medium, and of how she was finally exposed as a
trickster. To this H.P.B. added the following in pen and ink:]
This is the same Mrs. Bennett whose mediumship was so strongly believed in by
Epes Sargent. He wrote me a letter and sent a picture made in the dark by this cheat
of the departed daughter of one of his friends. The picture was unanimously
recognized. “The best test that was ever given” wrote poor Epes Sargent to his
Page 221
[Banner of Light, Boston, Vol. XL, No. 3, October 14, 1876]
To the Editor of the Banner of Light:
Sir,—Despite the constant recurrence of new discoveries by modern men of
science, an exaggerated respect for authority and an established routine among the
educated class retards the progress of true knowledge. Facts, which, if observed,
tested, classified and appreciated would be of inestimable importance to science, are
summarily cast into the despised limbo of supernaturalism. To these conservatives the
experience of the past serves neither as an example nor a warning. The overturning of
a thousand cherished theories finds our modern philosopher as unprepared for each
new scientific revelation as though his predecessors had been infallible from time
The protoplasmist should at least, in modesty, remember that his past is one vast
cemetery of dead theories; a desolate Potter’s Field wherein exploded hypotheses lie
in ignoble oblivion like so many executed malefactors, whose names cannot be
pronounced by the next of kin without a blush.
The nineteenth century is essentially the age of demolition. True, science takes
just pride in many revolutionary discoveries, and claims to have immortalized the
epoch by forcing from Dame Nature some of her most important secrets. But for
every inch she illumines of the narrow and circular path within whose limits she has
hitherto trodden what boundless stretches have been left behind unexplored? Worst is
that science has not simply withheld her light from these regions that seem dark (but
are not), but her votaries try their best to quench the light of other people under the
pretext that they are not authorities, and their friendly beacons are but “will-o’-thewisps.”
Page 222
Prejudice and preconceived ideas have entered the public brain, and, cancer-like, are
eating it to the core. Spiritualism—or, if some for whom the word has become so
unpopular prefer it, the universe of spirit—is left to fight out its battle with the world
of matter, and the crisis is at hand.
Half-thinkers, and aping, would-be philosophers, in short, that class which is
unable to penetrate events any deeper than their crust, and which measures every
day’s occurrence by its present aspect, unmindful of the past and careless of the
future, heartily rejoice over the latest rebuff given to phenomenalism in the
Lankester-Donkin offensive and defensive alliance, and the pretended exposure of
Slade. In this hour of would-be Lancastrian triumph, a change should be made in
English heraldic crests. The Lancasters were always given to creating dissensions and
provoking strife among peaceable folk. From ancient York the War of Roses is now
transferred to Middlesex; and Lankester (whose name is a corruption) instead of
uniting himself with the hereditary foe, has joined his idols with those of Donkin
(whose name is evidently also a corruption). As the hero of the hour is not a knight,
but a zoologist, deeply versed in the science to which he devotes his talents, why not
compliment his ally by quartering the red rose of Lancaster with the downy thistle so
delicately appreciated by a certain prophetic quadruped who seeks for it by the
wayside? Really, Mr. Editor, when Mr. Lankester tells us that all those who believe in
Dr. Slade’s phenomena “are lost to reason,” we must accord to biblical animals a
decided precedence over modern ones. The ass of Balaam had at least the faculty of
perceiving spirits, while some of those who bray in our academies and hospitals show
no evidence of its possession. Sad degeneration of species!
Such persons as these bound all spiritual phenomena in nature by the fortunes
and mishaps of mediums—each new favorite, they think, must of necessity pull down
in his fall an unscientific hypothetical “unseen universe,” as the tumbling red Dragon
of the Apocalypse drew with his tail the third part of the stars of heaven.
Page 223
Poor blind moles! They perceive not that by inveighing against the “craze” of such
phenomenalists as Wallace, Crookes, Wagner and Thury, they only help the spread of
true Spiritualism. We millions of lunatics really ought to address a vote of thanks to
the “dishevelled” Beards who make supererogatory efforts to appear as stupid
clodpoles to deceive the Eddys and Lankesters simulating “astonishment and intense
interest” the better to cheat Dr. Slade. More than any advocates of phenomenalism,
they bring its marvels into public notice by their pyrotechnic exposures.
As one entrusted by the Russian Committee with the delicate task of selecting a
medium for the coming St. Petersburg experiments, and as an officer of the
Theosophical Society, which put Dr. Slade’s powers to the test in a long series of
séances, I pronounce him not only a genuine medium, but one of the best and least
fraudulent mediums ever developed. From personal experience, I can not only testify
to the genuineness of his slate-writing, but also to that of the materializations which
occur in his presence. A shawl thrown over a chair (which I was invited to place
wherever I chose) is all the cabinet he exacts, and his apparitions immediately appear,
and that in gaslight.
No one will charge me with a superfluous confidence in the personality of
materializing apparitions, or superabundance of love for them; but honour and truth
compel me to affirm that those who appeared to me in Slade’s presence were real
phantoms, and not “made up” confederates or dolls. They were evanescent and filmy,
and the only ones I have seen in America which have reminded me of those which the
adepts of India evoke. Like the latter, they formed and dissolved before my eyes,
their substance rising mist-like from the floor, and gradually condensing. Their eyes
moved and their lips smiled; but as they stood near me their forms were so
transparent that I could see through them the objects in the room. These I call genuine
spiritual substances, whereas the opaque ones that I have seen elsewhere were
nothing but animated forms of matter—whatever they be—with sweating hands and a
peculiar odour which I am not called upon to define at this time.
Page 224
Everyone knows that Dr. Slade is not acquainted with foreign languages, and yet
at our first séance, three years ago, on the day after my arrival in New York, where no
one knew me, I received upon his slate a long communication in Russian.* I had
purposely avoided giving either to Dr. Slade, or his partner, Mr. Simmons, any clue to
my nationality, and while, from my accent, they would of course have detected that I
was not an American they could not possibly have known from what country I came.
I fancy that if Dr. Lankester had allowed Slade to write on both knees and both
elbows successively or simultaneously, the poor man would not have been able to
turn out a Russian message by trick and device.
In reading the accounts in the London papers it has struck me as very remarkable
that this “vagrant” medium, after baffling such a host of savants, should have fallen
so easy a victim to the zoologico-osteological brace of scientific detectives. Fraud,
that neither the “psychic” Serjeant Cox; nor the “unconsciously cerebrating”
Carpenter; nor the wise Wallace; nor the experienced M. A. (Oxon.); nor the cautious
Lord Rayleigh, who, mistrusting his own acuteness, employed a professional juggler
to attend the séance with him; nor Professor Carter-Blake; nor a host of other
competent observers could detect, was seen by the eagle eyes of the Lankester-
Donkin gemini at a single glance. There has been nothing like it since Beard of
electro-hay-fever and Eddy fame, denounced the faculty of Yale for a set of asses,
because they would not accept his divinely inspired revelation of the secret of mindreading,
and pitied the imbecility of that “amiable idiot,” Colonel Olcott, for trusting
his own two-months’ observation of the Eddy phenomena in preference to the electric
doctor’s single séance of an hour.
* [The actual date of H.P.B.’s arrival in New York, namely, July 7, 1873, is given in A. P. Sinnett’s
Incidents in the Life of H. P. Blavatsky, p. 175. It is also implied by H.P.B. herself in a letter to her
aunt, Nadyezhda A. de Fadeyev (The Path, New York, Vol. IX, February, 1895, p. 385), written the
day she became a citizen of the United States, July 8, 1878, “five years and one day since I came to
America,” as she says therein.—Compiler.]
See Bio-Bibliographical Index for data.
See Bio-Bibliographical Index for data.
See Bio-Bibliographical Index for biographical sketch.
(The above three portraits are from the Adyar Archives.
(From Emma Hardinge-Britten’s Nineteenth Century Miracles, London, 1883. Consult the Bio-
Bibliographical Index for biographical data
Page 225
I am an American citizen in embryo, Mr. Editor, and I cannot hope that the
English magistrates of Bow Street will listen to a voice that comes from a city
proverbially held in small esteem by British scientists. When Professor Tyndall asks
Professor Youmans if the New York carpenters could make him a screen ten feet long
for his Cooper Institute lectures, and whether it would be necessary to send to Boston
for a cake of ice that he wished to use in the experiments; and when Huxley evinces
grateful surprise that a “foreigner could express himself in your [our] language, in
such a way as to be so readily intelligible, to all appearance,” by a New York
audience, and that those clever chaps—the New York reporters—could report him
despite his accent, neither New York witnesses nor New York “spooks” can hope for
a standing in a London court, when the defendant is prosecuted by English scientists.
But fortunately for Dr. Slade, British tribunals are not inspired by the Jesuits, and so
Slade may escape the fate of Leymarie. He certainly will, if he is allowed to summon
to the witness stand his Owasso and other devoted “controls,” to write their testimony
inside a double slate, furnished and held by the magistrate himself. This is Dr. Slade’s
golden hour: he will never have so good a chance to demonstrate the reality of
phenomenal manifestations and make Spiritualism triumph over skepticism; and we
who know the doctor’s wonderful powers, are confident that he can do it, if he is
assisted by those who in the past have accomplished so much through his
Corresponding Secretary of the Theosophical Society.
New York, October 8th, 1876.
* [Consult the Bio-Bibliographical Index of the present volume for other data concerning Dr. Slade.
Page 226
[Banner of Light, Boston, Vol. XL No. 5, October 28,1876, p. 1]
To the Editor of the Banner of Light:
Sir,—As I see the issue that has been raised by Dr. Hallock with Mr. Huxley, it
suggests to me the comparison of two men looking at the same distant object through
a telescope. The Doctor, having taken the usual precautions, brings the object within
close range where it can be studied at one’s leisure; but the naturalist, having
forgotten to remove the cap, sees only the reflection of his own image.
Though the materialists may find it hard to answer even the brief criticisms of
the Doctor, yet it appears that Mr. Huxley’s New York lectures- as they present
themselves to me in their naked desolation—suggest one paramount idea which Dr.
Hallock has not touched upon. I need scarcely say to you, who must have read the
report of these would-be iconoclastic lectures, that this idea is one of the “false
pretenses” of modern science. After all the flourish which attended his coming, all the
expectations that had been aroused, all the secret apprehensions of the church and the
anticipated triumph of the materialists, what did he teach us that was really new or so
extremely suggestive? Nothing, positively nothing. Exclude a sight of his personality,
the sound of his well-trained voice, the reflection of his scientific glory, and the result
may be summed up thus: “Cr.: Thomas H. Huxley, £1,000.”
Of him it may be said, as it has of other teachers before, that what he said that
was new was not true; and that which was true was not new. Without going into
details, for the moment it suffices to say that the materialistic theory of evolution is
far from being demonstrated, while the thought that Mr. Huxley does not grasp—i.e.,
the double evolution of spirit and matter—is imparted under the form of various
legends in the oldest parts of the Rig-Veda (the Aitareya-Brâhmana). Only the
benighted Hindus, it seems, made the trifling improvement over modern science, of
hooking a First Cause on the further end of the chain of evolution.
Page 227
In the Chaturhôtri Mantra (Book V, ch. iv, § 23, of the Aitareya-Brâhmana ) the
Goddess Earth (iyam), who is termed the Queen of the Serpents (sarpa-râjñî), for she
is the mother of everything that moves (sarpat), was in the beginning of time
completely bald. She was nothing but one round head, which was soft to the touch
(i.e., a “gelatinous mass”). Being distressed at her baldness, she called for help to the
great Vâyu, the Lord of the airy regions; she prayed him to teach her the Mantra
(invocation or sacrificial prayer, a certain part of the Veda), which would confer on
her the magical power of creating things (generation). He complied, and then as soon
as the Mantra was pronounced by her “in the proper metre” she found herself covered
with hair (vegetation). She was now hard to the touch, for the Lord of the air had
breathed upon her—(the globe had cooled) . She had become of a variegated or
motley appearance, and suddenly acquired the power to produce out of herself every
animate and inanimate form, and to change one form to another. “Therefore in like
manner,” says the sacred book, “the man who has such a knowledge [of the
Mantras]* obtains the faculty of assuming any shape or form he likes.”
It will scarcely be said that this allegory is capable of more than one
interpretation, viz.: that the ancient Hindus many centuries before the Christian era
taught the doctrine of evolution. Martin Haug, the Sanskrit scholar, asserts that the
Vedas were already in existence from 2,000 to 2,200 B.C.
Thus, while the theory of evolution is nothing new, and may be considered a
proven fact, the new ideas forced upon the public by Mr. Huxley are only
undemonstrated hypotheses; and as such, liable to be exploded the first fine day upon
the discovery of some new fact. We find no admission of this, however, in Mr.
Huxley’s communications to the public, but the unproved theories are enunciated
with as much boldness as though they were established scientific facts corroborated
by unerring laws of nature.
* [Square brackets are H.P.B.’s.—Compiler.]
Page 228
Notwithstanding that, the world is asked to revere the great Evolutionist, only
because he stands under the shadow of a great name.
What is this but one of the many false pretences of the Sciolists? And yet
Huxley and his admirers charge the believers in the evolution of spirit with the same
crime of false pretences, because, forsooth, our theories are as yet undemonstrated.
Those who believe in Slade’s spirits are “lost to reason,” while those who can see
embryonic man in Huxley’s “gelatinous mass,” are accepted as the progressive minds
of the age. Slade is arraigned before the magistrate for taking $5 from Lankester,
while Huxley triumphantly walks away with $5,000 of American gold in his pockets,
which was paid him for imparting to us the mirific fact that man evolved from the
hind toe of a pedactyl horse!
Now, arguing from the standpoint of strict justice, in what respect is a
Materialistic theorist any better than a Spiritualistic one? And in what degree is the
evolution of man—independent of Divine and Spiritual interference—better proven
by the toe-bone of an extinct horse, than the evolution and survival of the human
spirit by the writing upon a screwed-up slate by some unseen power or powers? And
yet again, the soulless Huxley sails away laden with flowers like a fashionable
corpse, conquering and to conquer in fresh fields of glory, while the poor medium is
haled before a police magistrate as a “vagrant and a swindler,” without proof enough
to sustain the charge before an unprejudiced tribunal.
There is good authority for the statement that psychological science is a
debatable land upon which the modern physiologist hardly dares to venture. I deeply
sympathize with the embarrassed student of the physical side of nature. We all can
readily understand how disagreeable it must be to a learned theorist ever aspiring for
the elevation of his hobby to the dignity of an accepted scientific truth, constantly to
receive the lie direct from his remorseless and untiring antagonist—psychology.
Page 229
To see his cherished materialistic theories become every day more untenable, until
they are reduced to the condition of mummies swathed in shrouds, self-woven and
inscribed with a farrago of pet sophistries, is indeed—hard.
And yet in their self-satisfying logic these Sons of Matter reject every testimony
but their own; the divine entity of the Socratic daïmonion, the ghost of Caesar, and
Cicero’s divinum quiddam, they explain by epilepsy; and the prophetic oracles of the
Jewish Bath-Kol are set down as hereditary hysteria!
And now, supposing the great protoplasmist to have proved to the general
satisfaction that the present horse is an effect of gradual development from the
Orohippus, or four-toed horse of the Eocene formation, which, passing further
through the Miocene and Pliocene periods, has become the modern honest Equus,
does Huxley thereby prove that man has also developed from a one-toed human
being? For nothing short of that could demonstrate his theory. To be consistent he
must show that while the horse was losing at each successive period a toe, man has in
reversed order acquired an additional one at each new formation; and, unless we are
shown the fossilized remains of man in a series of one-, two-, three-, and four-toed
anthropoid apelike beings antecedent to the present perfected Homo, what does
Huxley’s theory amount to? Nobody doubts that everything has evolved out of
something prior to itself. But, as it is, he leaves us hopelessly in doubt whether it is
man who is a hipparionic or equine evolution, or the antediluvian Equus that evolved
from the primitive genus Homo!
Thus, to apply the argument to Slade’s case, we may say that, whether the
messages on his slate indicate an authorship among the returning spirits of
antediluvian monkeys, or the Bravos and Lankestrian ancestors of our day, he is no
more guilty of false pretences than the $5,000 Evolutionist. Hypothesis, whether of
scientist or medium, is no false pretence; but unsupported assertion is, when people
are charged money for it.
Page 230
If, satisfied with the osseous fragments of a Hellenized or Latinized skeleton, we
admit that there is a physical evolution, by what logic can we refuse to credit the
possibility of an evolution of spirit? That there are two sides to the question, no one
but an utter Psychophobist will deny. It may be argued that even if the Spiritualists
have demonstrated their bare facts, their philosophy is incomplete, since it has
missing links. But no more have the Evolutionists. They have fossil remains which
prove that once upon a time the ancestors of the modern horse were blessed with
three and even four toes and fingers, the fourth answering “to the little finger of the
human hand,” and that the protohippus rejoiced in “a fore-arm.” Spiritualists in their
turn exhibit entire hands, arms and even bodies in support of their theory that the
dead still live and revisit us. For my part I cannot see that the osteologists have the
better of them. Both follow the inductive or purely scientific method, proceeding
from particulars to universals; thus Cuvier, upon finding a small bone, traced around
it imaginary lines until he had built up from his prolific fancy a whole mammoth. The
data of scientists are no more certain than those of Spiritualists; and while the former
have but their modern discoveries upon which to build their theories, Spiritualists
may cite the evidence of a succession of ages, which began long prior to the advent of
modern science.
An inductive hypothesis, we are told, is demonstrated when the facts are shown
to be in an entire accordance with it. Thus, if Huxley possesses conclusive evidence
of the evolution of man in the genealogy of the horse, Spiritualists can equally claim
that proof of the evolution of spirit out of the body is furnished in the materialized,
more or less substantial, limbs that float in the dark shadows of the cabinet, and often
in full light; a phenomenon which has been recognized and attested by numberless
generations of wise men of every country. As to the pretended superiority of modern
over ancient science, we have only the word of the former for it. This is also an
hypothesis; better evidence is required to prove the fact.
Page 231
We have but to turn to Wendell Phillips’ lecture on the Lost Arts* to have a certain
right to doubt the assurance of modern science.
Speaking of evidence, it is strange what different and arbitrary values may be
placed upon the testimony of different men equally trustworthy and well-meaning.
Says the parent of protoplasm:
It is impossible that one’s practical life should not be more or less influenced by
the views which we may hold as to what has been the past history of things. One of
them is human testimony in its various shapes—all testimony of eye-witnesses,
traditional testimony from the lips of those who have been eye-witnesses, and the
testimony of those who have put their impressions into writing or into print.
On just such testimony, amply furnished in the Bible (evidence which Mr.
Huxley rejects), and in many other less problematical authors than Moses, among
whom may be reckoned generations of great philosophers, theurgists, and laymen,
Spiritualists have a right to base their fundamental doctrines. Speaking further of the
broad distinction to be drawn between the different kinds of evidence, some being
more valuable than others, because given upon grounds not clear, upon grounds
illogically stated, and upon such as do not bear thorough and careful inspection, the
same gelatinist remarks:
For example, if I read in your history of Tennessee [Ramsay’s], that one hundred
years ago this country was peopled by wandering savages, my belief in this statement
rests upon the conviction that Mr. Ramsay was actuated by the same sort of motives
that men are now; . . . that he himself was, like ourselves, not inclined to make false
statements. . . . If you read Caesar’s Commentaries, wherever he gives an account of
his battles with the Gauls, you place a certain amount of confidence in his statements.
You take his testimony upon this. You feel that Caesar would not have made these
statements unless he had believed them to be true.
Profound philosophy! precious thoughts! gems of condensed, gelatinous truth!
long may it stick to the American mind.
* [Lecture of about 1838-39 which was delivered by this great orator and writer about two thousand
times under various circumstances. It was published in booklet form by Lee and Shepherd, Boston,
Mass., and T. Dillingham. New York, in 1884. 23 pages.—Compiler.]
Page 232
Mr. Huxley ought to devote the rest of his days to writing primers for the feebleminded
adults of the United States. But why select Caesar as the type of the
trustworthy witness of ancient times? And, if we must implicitly credit his reports of
battles, why not his profession of faith in augurs, diviners and apparitions? For, in
common with his wife, Calphurnia, he believed in them as firmly as any Modern
Spiritualist in his mediums and phenomena.
We also feel that no more than Caesar would such men as Cicero and Herodotus
and Livy and a host of others “have made these false statements” or reported such
things “unless they believed them to be true.”
It has already been shown that the doctrine of evolution, as a whole, was taught
in the Rig-Veda, and I may also add that it can be found in the most ancient of the
Books of Hermes. This is bad enough for the claim to originality set up by our
modern scientists; but what shall be said when we recall the fact that the very
pedactyl horse, the finding of whose footprints has so overjoyed Mr. Huxley, was
mentioned by ancient writers (Herodotus and Pliny, if I mistake not), and was once
outrageously laughed at by the French Academicians? Let those who wish to verify
the fact read Salverte’s Des Sciences Occultes, translated by Anthony Todd
Some day, proofs as conclusive will be discovered of the reliability of the
ancient writers as to their evidence on psychological matters. What Niebuhr, the
German materialist did with Livy’s History, from which he eliminated every one of
the multitude of facts there given of phenomenal “Supernaturalism,” scientists now
seem to have tacitly agreed to do with all the ancient, mediaeval and modern authors.
What they narrate, that can be used to bolster up the physical part of science,
scientists accept and sometimes cooly appropriate without credit; what supports the
spiritualistic philosophy, they incontinently reject as mythical and contrary to the
order of nature. In such cases “evidence” and the testimony of “eye-witnesses” count
for nothing.
* [Entitled The Philosophy of Magic. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1847. 2 vols.—-Compiler.]
Page 233
They adopt the contrary course to Lord Verulam, who, arguing on the properties of
amulets and charms, remarks that, “we should not reject all this kind, because it is not
known how far those contributing to superstition depend on natural causes.”
There can be no real enfranchisement of human thought, nor expansion of
scientific discovery, until the existence of spirit is recognized, and the double
evolution accepted as a fact. Until then, false theories will always find favour with
those who, having forsaken “the God of their fathers,” vainly strive to find substitutes
in nucleated masses of matter. And of all the sad things to be seen in this era of
“shams,” none is more deplorable—though its futility is often ludicrous—than the
conspiracy of certain scientists to stamp out spirit by their one-sided theory of
evolution, and destroy Spiritualism by arraigning its mediums upon the charge of
“false pretences.”
[In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook Vol. III, p. 119, there is an undated cutting from the
Spiritual Scientist which treats of opinions on spirit return among the ancients. H.P.B.
wrote a footnote in pen and ink which says:]
Mind is the quintessence of the Soul—and having joined its divine Spirit Nous—
can return no more on earth—IMPOSSIBLE.
[In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. IV, p. 35. there is pasted a cutting from the New
York Sun of December 17, 1876. It is a brief communication from Col. H. S. Olcott
who repudiates the charge of having received $8,000 from Baron de Palm, and proves
that the expenses of the funeral and the cremation were paid by him and Mr. Henry J.
Newton; he says that “not a Dollar has been, nor ever will be realized from the
Baron’s estate.” H.P.B. marked this article and wrote on the margin in blue pencil:]
Letter proving how much the Baron left us.
Page 237
[The World, New York, January 24, 1877]
To the Editor of The World:
Sir,—In my benighted country such a thing as an “interview” is unknown. Had I
been aware of its dangers, I would have tried to use magic enough to impress my
words upon the intelligent young gentleman who called upon me yesterday in your
behalf. As it is, I find in his “report” a little error that is calculated to give my very
esteemed antagonists, the theologians, a poor opinion of my Biblical scholarship. He
makes me put into the mouth of Jehovah the injunction, “Fear the gods.” What I did
say was that in Exodus, xxii, 28, Jehovah commands, “Thou shalt not revile the
gods”; and that, attempting to break its force, some commentators interpret the word
to mean the “rulers.”
As I have had the opportunity of knowing many rulers, in many different
countries, and never knew one to be “a god,” I made so bold as to express my wonder
at such an elastic interpretation.
The theologians do not imitate the moderation of the “Lord God,” but “revile the
gods” of other people without stint, especially the “gods” (spirits) of the Spiritualists.
As none of their writers have thought of availing themselves of this weapon of
defense, I thought it no more than fair to introduce it in my “Veil of Isis,”* for their
benefit as well as that of the “heathen” to whom you are so kindly sending
missionaries to convert them.
* [The Veil of Isis was to be the original title of H.P.B.’s first large work, but on May 8, 1877, J. W.
Bouton, the Publisher, wrote to H.P.B. saying that another work had already been published with
this title. He and Charles Sotheran suggested a change of title to Isis Unveiled. The suggestion was
accepted by H.P.B. By that time, however, the running head of Volume I had already been printed,
and it stands as “Veil of Isis” throughout the first Volume, as it would have cost too much to alter it.
The introductory section “Before the Veil” retained its original title also.
The work to which Bouton referred is: The Veil of Isis. The Mysteries of the Druids. By W.
Winwood Reade. London: Chas. J. Skeet, 1861, 250 pp.—Compiler.]
Page 238
Hoping that I am not trespassing upon the hospitality of your columns in asking
the insertion of these few lines,
I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
A benighted Buddhist, and the Corresponding Secretary of the Theosophical
New York, January 23rd.
[In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. IV, p. 54, there is pasted a cutting from the Banner
of Light, dated by H.P.B. herself as of March, 1887. It bears the title: “Art Magic—
Explanation Desired!” The writer. William Emmette Coleman, of Leavenworth,
Kansas, asks for an explanation concerning the difference between the original price
of Mrs. Emma Hardinge-Britten’s Art Magic for subscribers ($5.00), and the price
advertised then ($3.00) for sale to the general public.
H.P.B. wrote in blue pencil at the left side of the cutting:]
Actually Emma H. Britten surreptitiously published 1,500 copies (through
Wheat & Comette, N.Y.).
[and at the right side of the cutting:]
I was an original subscriber for two copies.
[The World, New York, April 6,1877]
To the Editor of The World:
Sir,—There was a time when the geocentric theory was universally accepted by
Christian nations, and if you and I had been carrying on our little philological and
psychological controversy, I should have bowed in humility to the dictum of an
authority so “particularly at home” in “the mysticism of the Orient.” But despite all
modifications of our astronomical system, I am no heliolater, though I do subscribe
for the Sun as well as The World. I feel no more bound to “cajole” or “conciliate” the
one than to suffer my feeble taper to be extinguished by the draught made by the
other in its diurnal rush through journalistic space.
Page 239
As near as I can judge from your writing there is this difference between us, that
I write from personal experience and you upon information and belief. My authorities
are my eyes and ears, yours obsolete works of reference and the pernicious advice of
a spontaneously-generated “lampsakano,” who learned his mysticism from the
detached head of one Dummkopf. (See the Sun of March 25th.) My assertions may
be corroborated by any traveller, as they have been by the first authorities.
Elphinstone’s Kingdom of Kabul, etc., was published sixty-two years ago (1815) ;*
his The History of India thirty-six years ago. If the latter is the “standard text book”
for British civil servants it certainly is not for native Hindoos, who perhaps know as
much of their philosophy and religion as he. In fact, a pretty wide reading of
European “authorities” has given me a very poor opinion of them, since no two agree.
Sir William Jones, whose shoestrings few Orientalists are worthy to untie, made,
himself, very grave mistakes, which are now being corrected by Max Müller and
others. He knew nothing of the Vedas (see Max Müller’s Chips, Vol. I, p. 183), and
even expressed his belief that Buddha was the same as the Teutonic deity Wodan or
Odin, and Sâkya—another name of Buddha—the same as Shishac, a king of Egypt!
Why, therefore, could not Elphinstone make a mess of such subtle religious
distinctions as the innumerable sects of Hindoo mystics present?
I am charged with such ignorance that I imagine the fakirs to be “holy
mendicants of the religion of Brahmâ,” while you “say they are not of the religion of
Brahmâ at all, but Mahometans.” Does this precious piece of information come also
from Elphinstone? Then I give you a Roland for your Oliver.
* [The original title of this work by Mounstuart Elphinstone was: An Account of the Kingdom of
Caubul, and its Dependencies in Persia, Tartary, and India, etc., London, 1815.—Compiler.]
Page 240
I refer you to James Mill’s The History of British India (Vol. I, p. 283; London,
1858). You say “those seeking ready-made information can find our statements
corroborated in any encyclopaedia.” Perhaps you refer to Appleton’s? Very well. In
the article on James Mill (Vol. II, p. 501)* you will find it saying that his India was
the first complete work on the subject. “It was without a rival as a source of
information, and the justice of its views appeared in the subsequent measures for the
government of that country.” Now, Mill says that the fakirs are a sect of Brahmanism;
and that their penances are prescribed by the Laws of Manu. Will your Lampsickener,
or whatever the English of that Greek may be, say that Manu was a
Mahometan? And yet that would be no worse than your clothing the fakirs—who
belong, as a rule, to the Brahman pagodas—in yellow, the color exclusively worn by
Buddhist lamas,† and breeches which form part of the costume of the Mahometan
dervishes. Perhaps it is a natural mistake for you Lampsakanoi, who rely upon
Elphinstone for your facts and have not visited India, to confound the Persian
dervishes with the Hindoo fakirs. But “while the lamp holds out to burn,” read Louis
Jacolliot’s Bible in India, just out, and learn from a man who has passed twenty years
in India that your correspondent is neither a fool nor a liar.
You charge me with saying that a fakir is a “worshipper of God.” I say I did not,
as the expression I used, “fakir is a loose word,” well proves. It was a natural mistake
of the reporter, who did not employ stenography at our interview.
* [Reference is probably to the Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of Biography. It is not known what edition
H.P.B. had in mind. In the 1872 edition although the above wording does not occur, the ideas
expressed about Mill’s work are equally laudable.—Compiler.]
† [This must be a lapsus calami on the part of H.P.B. Yellow is worn by Buddhist monks of the
Southern School but not by Tibetan Lamas. The Bhikkus of the Theravâda School have, since the
foundation of the Order by the Buddha, worn three robes of various shades of orange or yellow.
Members of the Gelug-pa Order of Tibetan Buddhism, founded in the fourteenth century by Tsongkha-
pa, wear on special occasions yellow hats as distinct from the red hats worn by other sects, and
on certain festive occasions yellow silk over their maroon robes.—Compiler.]
(Consult the Bio-Bibliographical Index, for biographical sketch.)
Photograph by Beardsley, Ithaca, N.Y.
Page 241
I said, “A Svâmi is one who devotes himself entirely to the service of God.” All
Svâmis of the Nir-Narrain sect are fakirs, but all fakirs are not necessarily Svâmis. I
refer you to Coleman’s The Mythology of the Hindus (p. 244), and to the Asiatic
Journal. Coleman says precisely what Louis Jacolliot says, and both corroborate me.
You very obligingly give me a lesson in Hindustani and the Devanagari, and teach me
the etymology of “guru,” “Fakir,” “Gosain,” etc. For answer I refer you to John
Shakespear’s large Hindustani-English Dictionary. I may know less English than you
Lampsakanoi, but I do know of Sanskrit and Hindustani more than can be learned on
Park Row.
As I have said in another communication, I did not invite the visits of reporters,
nor seek the notoriety which has suddenly been thrust upon me. If I reply to your
criticisms—rhetorically brilliant, but wholly unwarranted by the facts—it is because I
value your good opinion (without caring to cajole you), and at the same time cannot
sit quiet and be made to appear alike devoid of experience, knowledge and
Respectfully, but still rebelliously, yours,
Monday, April 2nd, 1877.
[Banner of Light, Boston, Vol. XLI, April 21, 1877, p. 8]
To the Editor of The Sun:
Sir,—However ignorant I may be of the laws of the solar system, I am, at all
events, so firm a believer in heliocentric journalism that I subscribe for The Sun. I
have, therefore, seen your remarks in to-day’s Sun upon my “iconoclasm.”
No doubt it is a great honor for an unpretentious foreigner to be thus crucified
between the two greatest celebrities of your chivalrous country—the truly good
Deacon Richard Smith, of the blue gauze trousers, and the nightingale of the willow
and the cypress, G. Washington Childs, A.M. But I am not a Hindu fakir, and
therefore cannot say that I enjoy crucifixion, especially when unmerited.
Page 242
I would not even fancy being swung round the “tall tower” with the steel hooks
of your satire metaphorically thrust through my back. I have not invited the reporters
to a show. I have not sought notoriety. I have only taken up a quiet corner in your free
country, and, as a woman who has travelled much, shall try to tell a Western public
what strange things I have seen among Eastern peoples. If I could have enjoyed this
privilege at home, I should not be here. Being here, I shall, as your old English
proverb expresses it, “Tell the truth and shame the devil.”
The World reporter who visited me wrote an article which mingled his
souvenirs of my stuffed apes and my canaries, my tiger-heads and palms, with aerial
music and the flitting doppelgängers of adepts. It was a very interesting article, and
certainly intended to be very impartial. If he made me appear to deny the
immutability of natural law, and inferentially to affirm the possibility of miracle, it is
due to my faulty English or to the carelessness of the reader.
There are no such uncompromising believers in the immutability and
universality of the laws of nature as students of occultism. Let us then, with your
permission, leave the shade of the great Newton to rest in peace. It is not the principle
of the law of gravitation, or the necessity of a central force acting toward the sun, that
is denied, but the assumption that behind the law which draws bodies toward the
earth’s centre, and which is our most familiar example of gravitation, there is not
another law, equally immutable, that under certain conditions appears to counteract it.
If but once in a hundred years a table or a fakir is seen to rise in the air, without a
visible mechanical cause, then that rising is a manifestation of a natural law of which
our scientists are yet ignorant. Christians believe in miracles; occultists credit them
even less than pious scientists—Sir David Brewster, for instance. Show an occultist
an unfamiliar phenomenon, and he will never affirm a priori that it is either a trick or
a miracle.
Page 243
He will search for the cause in the region of causes.
There was an anecdote about Babinet, the astronomer, current in Paris in 1854,
when the great war was raging between the Academy and the “waltzing tables.” This
skeptical man of science had proclaimed in the Revue des Deux Mondes (January 15,
1854, p. 414) that the levitation of furniture without contact “was simply as
impossible as perpetual motion.” A few days later, during an experimental séance, a
table was levitated, without contact, in his presence. The result was that Babinet went
straight to a dentist to have a molar tooth extracted, which the iconoclastic table, in its
aerial flight, had seriously damaged. But it was too late to recall his article.
I suppose nine men out of ten, including editors, would maintain that the
undulatory theory of light is one of the most firmly established. And yet, if you will
turn to page 22 of The New Chemistry (New York, 1876), by Professor Josiah P.
Cooke, Jr., of Harvard University, you will find him saying: “I cannot agree with
those who regard the wave theory of light as an established principle of science. . . .
[it] requires a combination of qualities in the ether of space, which I find it difficult to
believe are actually realized.” What is this but iconoclasm?
Let us bear in mind that Newton himself received the corpuscular theory of
Pythagoras and his predecessors, from whom he learned it, and that it was only en
désespoir de cause that later scientists accepted the wave theory of Descartes and
Huyghens. Kepler maintained the magnetic nature of the sun. Leibnitz ascribed the
planetary motions to agitations of an ether. Borelli anticipated Newton in his
discovery, although he failed to demonstrate it as triumphantly. Huyghens and Boyle,
Horrocks and Hooke, Halley and Wren, all had ideas of a central force acting toward
the sun, and of the true principle of diminution of action of the force in the ratio of
the inverse square of the distance.
The last word has not yet been spoken with respect to gravitation; its limitations
can never be known until the nature of the sun is better understood.
Page 244
They are just beginning to recognize (see Professor Balfour Stewart’s lecture at
Manchester, entitled The Sun and the Earth, and Professor A. M. Mayer’s lecture, The
Earth a Great Magnet) the intimate connection between the sun’s spots and the
position of the heavenly bodies. The interplanetary magnetic attractions are but just
being demonstrated. Until gravitation is understood to be simply magnetic attraction
and repulsion, and the part played by magnetism itself in the endless correlations of
forces in the ether of space—that “hypothetical medium,” as Webster terms it, I
maintain that it is neither fair nor wise to deny the levitation of either fakir or table.
Bodies oppositely electrified attract each other; similarly electrified, repulse each
other. Admit, therefore, that any body having weight, whether man or inanimate
object, can by any cause whatever, external or internal, be given the same polarity as
the spot on which it stands, and what is to prevent its rising?
Before charging me with falsehood when I affirm that I have seen both men and
objects levitated, you must first dispose of the abundant testimony of persons far
better known than my humble self. Mr. Crookes, Professor Thury of Geneva, Louis
Jacolliot, your own Dr. Gray and Dr. Warner, and hundreds of others, have, first and
last, certified to the fact of levitation.
I am surprised to find how little even the editors of your erudite contemporary,
The World, are acquainted with Oriental metaphysics in general, and the trousers of
Hindu fakirs in particular. It was bad enough to make those holy mendicants of the
religion of Brahmâ graduate from the Buddhist Lamaseries of Tibet; but it is
unpardonable to make them wear baggy breeches in the exercise of their religious
functions. This is as bad as if a Hindu journalist had represented the Rev. Mr. Beecher
entering his pulpit in the scant costume of the fakir—the dhoti, a cloth about the
loins; “only that and nothing more.” To account, therefore, for the oft-witnessed,
open-air levitations of the Svâmis and Gurus upon the theory of an iron frame
concealed beneath the clothing, is as reasonable as Monsieur Babinet’s explanation of
the table-tipping and tapping as “unconscious ventriloquism.”
Page 245
You may object to the act of disembowelling, which I am compelled to affirm I
have seen performed. It is, as you say, “remarkable”; but still not miraculous. Your
suggestion that Dr. Hammond should go and see it is a good one. Science would be
the gainer, and your humble correspondent be justified. Are you, however, in a
position to guarantee that he would furnish the world of skeptics with an example of
“veracious reporting,” if his observation should tend to overthrow the pet theories of
what we loosely call science?
Yours very respectfully,
New York, March 28th, 1877.
[Banner of Light, Vol. XLI, No. 4, April 21, 1877, p. 8]
At a meeting of the Theosophical Society, held this day, the statement having
been read from a London journal that D. D. Home, the medium, will devote some
portion of his forthcoming work to “The Theosophical Society; its vain quest for
sylphs and gnomes,” and other matters pertaining to the organization, a committee
was appointed to make known the following facts:
1. The Theosophical Society has been from the first a secret organization.
2. The communication of any particulars as to its affairs, except by direct
authority, would be a dishonorable act.
3. The medium in question cannot possibly have any knowledge of these
matters, except from persons who have long ceased to be members, and have violated
their obligations, or persons discredited and disgraced at a very early period in the
history of the Society. Therefore, whatever statements he may publish cannot be
relied upon or verified.
Page 246
Whether this Society, or sections, or individual members have seen “Elementary” or
other spirits at its meetings, concerns themselves alone. They will act as judges
themselves when any phenomena have occurred that are suitable to give to the public.
That magical phenomena do sometimes happen in presence of members of the
Society when strangers can witness them, may be inferred from the editorial
description which appeared in the New York World of Monday last.
The Theosophical Society is quietly prosecuting those subjects which interest
the members, careful to neither infringe upon any person’s rights nor to transcend its
own legitimate field. In advance, therefore, of an authoritative report of its own
doings, it is unprofitable to pass judgement upon biased inferences made by third
parties upon the allegations either of those who do not know the truth, or such as by
an act of treachery have proved themselves incapable of speaking it.
• H. S. OLCOTT, President.
• R. B. WESTBROOK, D.D., Vice Pres.
• PROF. ALEX. WILDER, M.D., Vice Pres.
• H. P. BLAVATSKY, Cor. Sec.
• G. L. DITSON, M.D.
• W. Q. JUDGE (Counsel).
} Committee of the
Theosophical Society
[Official Copy]
A. GUSTAM, Secretary.
New York, March 30th, 1877.
Page 247
[The World , New York, May 6, 1877]*
To the Editor of The World:
Sir,—Since the first month of my arrival in America I began, for reasons
mysterious but perhaps intelligible, to provoke hatred among those who pretend to be
on good terms with me, if not the best of friends. Slanderous reports, vile
insinuations, innuendo, have rained about me. For more than three years I have kept
silent, although the least of the offenses attributed to me was calculated to excite the
loathing of a person of my disposition. I have rid myself of a number of these
retailers of slander, but finding that I was actually suffering in the estimation of
friends whose good opinion I valued, I adopted a policy of seclusion. For two years
my world has been in my apartments, and for an average of at least seventeen hours a
day I have sat at my desk with my books and manuscripts as my companions. During
this time many highly valued acquaintances have been formed with ladies and
gentlemen who have sought me out without expecting me to return their visits. I am
an old woman, and I feel the need of fresh air as well as any one, but my disgust for
the lying, slanderous world that we find outside of “heathen” countries has been such
that in seven months I believe I have been out but three times.
But no retreat is secure against the anonymous slanderer who uses the United
States mail. Letters have been received by my trusted friends containing the foulest
aspersions upon myself. At various times I have been charged with (1) drunkenness;
(2) forgery; (3) being a Russian spy; (4) with being an anti-Russian spy; (5) with
being no Russian at all, but a French adventuress; (6) of having been in jail for theft;
(7) of being the mistress of a Polish count in Union Square; (8) with murdering seven
husbands; (9) with bigamy; (10) of being the mistress of Colonel Olcott; (11) also of
an acrobat. Other things might be mentioned, but decency forbids.
* [Also published in the New York Sun, under the title “Various Slanders Refuted,” as appears from
H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. IV, p. 61.—Compiler.]
Page 248
Since the arrival of Wong Chin Foo the game has recommenced with double
activity. I have received anonymous letters and others, and newspaper slips, telling
infamous stories about him; on his part he has received communications about us,
one of which I beg you to insert:
May 4th
Does the disciple of Buddha know the character of the people with whom he is
at present residing? The surroundings of a teacher of morality and religion should be
moral. Are his so? On the contrary, they are people of very doubtful reputation, as he
can ascertain by applying at the nearest police station.
Of Wong Chin Foo’s merits or shortcomings I know nothing except that since
his arrival his conversation and behavior have impressed me favorably. He appears to
me a very earnest and enthusiastic student. However, he is a man, and is able to take
care of himself, although, like me, a foreigner. But I wish to say for myself just this:
that I defy any person in America to come forward and prove a single charge against
my honor. I invite everyone possessed of such proofs as will vindicate them in a court
of justice to publish them over their own signatures in the newspapers. I will furnish
to everyone a list of my several residences, and contribute towards paying detectives
to trace my every step. But I hereby give notice that if any more unverifiable slanders
can be traced to responsible sources, I will invoke the protection of the law, which, on
the theory of your national Constitution, was made for heathen as well as Christian
denizens. And I further notify slanderers of a speculative turn that no blackmail is
paid at No. 302 West Forty-seventh Street.
May 5th, 1877.
* [In her Scrapbook, Vol. IV, p. 61, H.P.B. marked in red pencil most of this paragraph and also
added the words:
What I am
Page 249
[The Sun, New York, Vol. XLIV, No. 255, May 13, 1877]
To the Editor of The Sun:
Sir,—As, in your leading article of May 6th, I am at one moment given credit
for knowing something about the religion of the Brahmans and Buddhists, and, anon,
of being a pretender of the class of Jacolliot, and even his plagiarist, you will not
wonder at my again knocking at your doors for hospitality. This time I write over my
own signature, and am responsible, as I am not under other circumstances.
No wonder that the “learned friend” at your elbow was reminded “of the
utterances of one Louis Jacolliot.” The paragraphs in the very able account of your
representative’s interview, which relate to “Adhima and Heva” and “Jezeus
Christna,” were translated bodily, in his presence, from the French edition of the
Bible in India. They were read, moreover, from the chapter entitled, “Bagaveda-
Gita,” which, doubtless, most American scholars have read. Jacolliot spells the name
Bagaveda instead of Bhagavad as you put it, kindly correcting me. In so doing, in my
humble opinion, he is right, and the others are wrong; were it but for the reason that
the Hindus themselves so pronounced it—at least those of Southern India, who speak
either the Tamil language or other dialects.
Page 250
Since we seek in vain among Sanskrit philologists for any two who agree as to
the spelling or meaning of important Hindu words, and scarcely two as to the
orthography of this very title, I respectfully submit that neither “the French fraud” nor
I are chargeable with any grave offense in the premises.
For instance, Professor Whitney, your greatest American Orientalist, and one of
the most eminent living, spells it Bagavata; while his equally great opponent, Max
Müller, prefers Bagavadgita, and half a dozen others spell it in as many different
ways, as naturally, each scholar, in rendering the Indian words into his own
vernacular, follows the national rule of pronunciation; and so, you will see, that
Professor Müller in writing the syllable ad with an A does precisely what Jacolliot
does in spelling it ed, the French E having the same sound as the English A, before a
consonant. The same holds good with the name of the Hindu Saviour, which by
different authorities is spelled Krishna, Crisna, Khristna and Krisna; everything, in
short, but the right way—Christna. Perhaps you may say that this is mere hypothesis.
But since every Indianist follows his own fancy, in his phonetic transcriptions, I do
not know why I may not exercise my best judgment, especially as I can give good
reasons to support it.
You affirm that there “never was a Hindu reformer named Jezeus Christna”;
and, although I confined my affirmation of his existence to the authority of Jacolliot
at the interview in question, I now assert on my own responsibility that there was, and
is, a personage of that name recognized and worshipped in India, and that he is not
Jesus Christ. Christna is a Brahmanical deity, and, except by the Brahmans, is
recognized by several sects of the Jainas. When Jacolliot says Jezeus Christna he only
shows a little clumsiness in phonetic rendering, and is nearer right than many of his
critics. I have been at the festivals of Janmotsar, in commemoration of the birth of
Christna (which is their Christmas), and have heard thousands of voices shouting:
Page 251
“Jas-i-Christna! Jasas-wi-Christna!” Translated, they are: Jas-i—renowned, famous;
and Jasas-wi—celebrated, or divinely renowned, powerful; and Christna, sacred. To
avoid being again contradicted, I refer the reader to any Hindostanee dictionary. All
the Brahmans with whom I have talked on the subject spoke of Christna either as Jasi-
Christna, or Jadar-Christna, or again used the term, Jadupati, Lord of Yadavas,
descendant of Yadu, one of the many titles of Christna in India. You see, therefore,
that it is but a question of spelling.
That Christna is preferable to Krishna can be clearly shown under the rules laid
down by Burnouf and others upon the authority of the pundits. True, the initial of the
name in Sanskrit is generally written K; but the Sanskrit k is strongly aspirated; it is a
guttural expiration whose only representation is the Greek Chi. In English, therefore,
the k instead of having the sound of k as in King would be even more aspirated than
the h in heaven. AS in English the Greek word is written Christos in preference to
H’ristos, which would be nearer the mark, so with the Hindu deity; his name under
the same rule should be written Christna, notwithstanding the possible
unwelcomeness of the resemblance.
Mr. Textor de Ravisi, a French Catholic Orientalist, and for ten years Governor
of Karikal (India), Jacolliot’s bitterest opponent in religious conclusions, fully
appreciated the situation. He would have the name spelt Krishna, because (1) most of
the statues of this god are black, and Krishna means black; and (2) because the real
name of Christna “was Kaneya, or Caneya.” Very well; but black is Krishna. And if
not only Jacolliot, but the Brahmans themselves, are not to be allowed to know as
much as their European critics, we will call in the aid of Volney and other
Orientalists, who show that the Hindu deity’s name is formed from the radical Chris,
meaning sacred, as Jacolliot shows it. Moreover, for the Brahmans to call their God
the “black one” would be unnatural and absurd; while to style him the sacred, or pure
essence, would be perfectly appropriate to their notions. As to the name being
Caneya, Mr. Textor de Ravisi, in suggesting it, completes his own discomfiture.
Page 252
In escaping Scylla he falls into Charybdis. I suppose no one will deny that the
Sanskrit Canya means Virgin; for even in modern Hindostanee the Zodiacal sign of
Virgo is called Kaniya. Christna is styled Caneya, as having been born of a virgin.
Begging pardon, then, of the “learned friend” at your elbow, I reaffirm that if there
“never was a Hindu reformer named Jezeus Christna,” there was a Hindu Saviour,
who is worshipped unto this day as Jas-i-Christna, or, if it better accords with his
pious preferences, Jas-i-Kristna.*
When the 84,000 volumes of the Dharma-Khanda, or sacred books of the
Buddhists, and the thousands upon thousands of ollas of Vedic and Brahmanical
literature, now known by their titles only to European scholars, or even a tithe of
those actually in their possession are translated, and comprehended, and agreed upon,
I will be happy to measure swords again with the solar pundit who has prompted your
severe reflections upon your humble subscriber.
Though, in common with various authorities, you stigmatize Jacolliot as a
“French fraud,” I must really do him the justice to say that his Catholic opponent, de
Ravisi, said of his Bible in India, in a report made at the request of the Société
Académique de St. Quentin, that it is written “with good faith, of absorbing interest, a
learned work on known facts and with familiar arguments.”
Ten years’ residence and studies in India were enough to fit him to give an
opinion. Unfortunately, however, in America it is but too easy to gain the reputation
of “a fraud” in much less time.
* [Owing to the fact that the Slavonic pronunciation of “J” is equivalent to “Y,” H.P.B. sometimes
uses “J” for the Devanâgarî character “Ya,” as is the case in this article where the terms should be
Yaś-i-Krishna, Yaśas-vin, etc.—Compiler.]
Page 253
[In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. IV, pp. 67-68 (old numbering Vol. II, pp. 49-50)
may be found a cutting from The Illustrated Weekly, Saturday, June 2, 1877, an
American journal published in New York in 1875-77. The cutting contains a rather
celebrated poem of Ivan Sergueyevich Turguenyev entitled “Croquet at Windsor,”
translated by H.P.B. into English, at the special request of her aunt, Nadyezhda A. de
Fadeyev, as appears from one of her letters to H.P.B. now in the Adyar Archives. This
poem, in its original Russian, acquired a wide notoriety during the Russo-Turkish
War of 1877-78.]
The proud Queen sits stately on Windsor’s green lawn,
Her ladies at croquet are playing;
She watches their game as the evening creeps on,
And smiles as the balls go a-straying.
They roll through the wickets; the arches are passed,
The strokes are so bold and so steady—
There’s scarcely a miss . . . stop! the Queen, all aghast,
As though stricken with death seems already.
She sees, as in vision, the balls disappear,
And corpse-heads, all ghastly and bleeding,
Roll toward her, where speechless and palid with fear,
She shudders, and watches their speeding.
Heads frosted, and heads of the young and the fair;
Heads of children, whose innocent prattle
Was drowned in the hell-storm that swept through the air
When their village was sacked in the battle.
Page 254
And lo! the Queen`s daughter—youngest fairest of all,
Instead of the red ball, is throwing
A babe’s gory head, which comes rolling, to fall
At her feet, with its lifeblood still flowing!
The head of a babe, pinched with torture and white—
And its golden locks dabbled with gore;
The lips speak reproach, though the eyes lack their sight—
Till the Queen shrieks: “Torment me no more!”
She calls her physician to come to her aid,
“Quick, quick!” she cries, “quick to my cure!”
He quietly answers: “You may well be afraid,
You’ve been reading the papers, I’m sure.
“THE TIMES with Bulgarian horrors is filled—
Tells of Servian martyrs and Christian despair;
No wonder your majesty dreams of the killed;
Take these drops, and come in from the chill of the air.”
She’s housed: but as plunged in a revery still,
She sits with her eyes cast reflectively down,
O horror! her heart with new terror grows chill,
For she sees to her knees the blood spread on her gown!
“Quick! Wash it away, for I fain would forget,
Wash! Wash, British rivers and waters, this gore!”
No, no, haughty Queen, though that stain is still wet,
’Tis of innocent blood, and will fade never more!
New York, May 25, 1877.
Page 255
[The World, New York, August 13, 1877]
To the Editor of The World.
Sir: The Sublime Porte has had the sublime effrontery to ask the American
people to execrate Russian barbarity. It appeals for sympathy on behalf of helpless
Turkish subjects at the seat of war. With the memories of Bulgaria and Servia still
fresh, this seems the climax of daring hypocrisy. Barely a few months ago the reports
of Mr. Schuyler and other impartial observers of the atrocities of Bashi-Bazouks sent
a thrill of horror through the world. Perpetrated under official sanction, they aroused
the indignation of all who had hearts to feel. In today’s paper I read another account
of pretended Russian cruelties, and your able and just editorial comments upon the
same. Permit one who is, perhaps, in a better position than any other private person
here to know what is taking place at the front, to inform you of certain facts derived
from authentic sources. Besides receiving daily papers from St. Petersburg, Moscow,
Tiflis and Odessa, I have an uncle, a cousin and a nephew in active service,* and
nearly every steamer brings me accounts of military movements from eyewitnesses.
My cousin and nephew have taken part in all the bloody engagements in Turkish
Armenia up to the present time, and were at the siege and capture of Ardahan.
Newspapers may suppress, color or exaggerate facts; the private letters of brave
soldiers to their families rarely do.
* [These were General Rostislav Andreyevich de Fadeyev, brother of H.P.B.’s mother; Alexander
Yulyevich de Witte, son of H.P.B.’s aunt, Katherine Andreyevna de Witte; and Rostislav
Nikolayevich de Yahontov, son of H.P.B.’s sister, Vera Petrovna, by her first marriage.—Compiler.]
Page 256
Let me say then that during this campaign the Turkish troops have been guilty of
such fiendish acts as make me pray that my relatives may be killed rather than fall
into their hands. In a letter from the Danube, corroborated by several correspondents
of German and Austrian papers, the writer says: “On June 20th we entered Kozlovetz,
a Bulgarian town of about two hundred houses, which lies three or four hours distant
from Sistova. The sight which met our eyes made the blood of every Russian soldier
run cold, hardened though he is to such scenes. On the principal street of the deserted
town were placed in rows 140 beheaded bodies of men, women and children. The
heads of these unfortunates were tastefully piled in a pyramid in the middle of the
street. Among the smoking ruins of every house we found half-burned corpses,
fearfully mutilated. We caught a Turkish soldier, and to our questions he reluctantly
confessed that their chiefs had given orders not to leave a Christian place, however
small, before burning it and putting to death every man, woman and child.”
On the first day that the Danube was crossed some foreign correspondents,
among them that of the Cologne Gazette, saw several bodies of Russian soldiers
whose noses, ears, hands, etc., had been cut off, while the genital organs had been
stuffed into the mouths of the corpses. Later three bodies of Christian women were
found—a mother and two daughters—whose condition makes one almost drop the
pen in horror at the thought. Entirely nude, split open from below to the navel, their
heads cut off; the wrists of each corpse were tied together with strips of skin and flesh
flayed from the shoulder down, and the corpses of the three martyrs were similarly
bound to each other by long ribbons of flesh dissected from their thighs.
A correspondent writes from Sistovo: “The Emperor continues his daily visits to
the hospitals and passes whole hours with the wounded. A few days ago His Majesty,
accompanied by Colonel Wellesley, the British military attaché, visited two
unfortunate Bulgarians who died on the night following. The skull of one of them
was split open both laterally and vertically, by two sword-cuts, an eye was torn out,
and he was otherwise mutilated.
Page 257
He explained, as well as he could, that several Turks seizing him, demanded his
money. As he had none, four of the party held him fast while the fifth, brandishing his
sword, and repeating all the time, ‘There, you Christian dog, there’s your cross for
you!’ first split his skull from the forehead to the back of the head, and then
crosswise, from ear to ear. While the Emperor was listening to these details the
greatest agony was depicted upon his face. Taking Colonel Wellesley by the arm, and
pointing to the Bulgarian, he said to him in French, ‘See the work of your protégés!’
The British officer blushed and was much confused.”
The special correspondent of the London Standard, describing his audience with
the Grand Duke Nicholas, Commander-in-Chief, on the 7th of July, says that the
Grand Duke communicated to him the most horrifying details about the cruelties
committed at Dobruja. A Christian, whose hands were tied with strips of his own skin
cut from the length of both his arms, and his tongue cut out from the root, was laid at
the feet of the Emperor, and died there before the eyes of the Czar and the British
agent, the same Colonel Wellesley, who was in attendance. Turning to the latter, His
Majesty, with a stern expression, asked him to inform his Government of what he had
just seen for himself. “From the beginning of the war,” says the correspondent, “I
have heard of quite a number of such cases, but never witnessed one myself. After the
personal assurances given to me by the Grand Duke, it is no longer possible to doubt
that the Turkish officers are unable to control their irregular troops.”
The correspondent of the Syeverniy Vestnik had gone the rounds of the hospitals
to question the wounded soldiers. Four of them, belonging to the Second Battalion of
Minsk Rifles, testified with the most solemn asseverations that they had seen the
Turks approach the wounded, rob them, mutilate their bodies in the most cruel way
and finish them with the bayonet. They themselves have avoided this fate only by
feigning death.
It is a common thing for wounded Turks to allure Russian soldiers and members
of the sanitary corps to their assistance and, as they bend over them, to kill with a
revolver or dagger those who would relieve them.
Page 258
A case like this occurred under the eye of one of my correspondents in Turkish
Armenia and was in all the Russian papers. A sergeant’s assistant (a sanitar) was
dispatched under such circumstances; thereupon a soldier standing by killed the
My cousin, Major Alexander Y. Witte, of the Sixteenth Nizhegorodsky Dragoons,
one of the most gallant soldiers in the army of Loris-Melikoff, and who has just been
decorated by the Grand Duke, under the authority of the Emperor, with a golden
sword inscribed “For Bravery,” says that it is becoming positively dangerous to
relieve a wounded Turk.* The people who robbed and killed the wounded in the
hospital at Ardahan upon the entry of the Russian troops were the Karapapahs,
Mussulmans and the supposed allies of the Turks. During the siege they prudently
awaited the issue from a safe distance. As soon as the Russians conquered, the
Karapapahs flew like so many tigers into the town, slaying the wounded Turks,
robbing the dead, pillaging houses, bringing the horses and mules of the fleeing
enemy into the Russian camp, and swearing allegiance to the Commander-in-Chief.
The Cossacks had all the trouble in the world to prevent their new allies from
continuing the greatest excesses. To charge, therefore, upon the Russians the
atrocities of these cowardly jackals (a nomadic tribe of brigands) is an impudent lie
of Mukhtar Pasha, whose falsifications have become so notorious that some Parisian
papers have nicknamed him “Blageur Pasha.”
* [Alexander Yulyevich de Witte (1846-1877) was the second son of Yuliy Feodorovich de Witte
and Katherine Andreyevna de Fadeyev, sister of H.P.B.’s mother. He was a younger brother of
Serguey Yulyevich de Witte who became Prime Minister of Russia. According to Vera P. de
Zhelihovsky, in her brief biographical account of H.P.B.’s life (See Preface to the Russian edition of
H.P.B.’s “Enigmatical Tribes of the Blue Hills,” p. xv), he was at the time a Major in the
Nizhegorodsky Dragoons and suffered a painful contusion in an engagement on Oct. 2, 1877. This
developed into heavy migraines, and he died in 1884 from the aftereffects of the injuries.—
Page 259
His dispatches are only matched in mendacity by those of the Spanish
commanders in Cuba.
The stupidity of charging such excesses upon the Russian army becomes
apparent when we remember that the policy of the Government from the first has
been to pay liberally for supplies, and win the goodwill of the people of the invaded
provinces by kindness. So marked and successful has this policy proved in General
Loris-Melikoff’s field of operations, that the anti-Russian papers of England, Austria
and other countries have denounced it as Russian “craft.”
With the Danubian forces is the Emperor in person—liberator of millions of
serfs, and the mildest and most just sovereign who has ever occupied the throne of
any country. As he won the love of his whole people and the adoration of his army, by
his sense of justice and benevolent regard, I ask you, if he is likely to countenance
any cruel excesses? While the cowardly Abdul-Hamid hides in the alcoves of his
harem, and of the Imperial Princes none have taken the field, the Czar follows his
army step by step, submits to comparatively severe and unaccustomed hardships, and
exposes his health and life against all the remonstrances and prayers of Prince
Gortchakoff. His four sons are all in active service, and the son of the Grand Duke
Nicholas was decorated at the crossing of the Danube for personal courage, having
exposed his life for hours under a shower of bullets.
I only ask the American people to do justice to their long-tried and unfaltering
friends, the Russians. However politicians may have planned, the Russian people
have entered this war as a holy crusade to rescue millions of helpless Slavonians—
their brothers—of the Danube from Turkish cruelty. The people have dragged the
Government to the field. Russia is surrounded by false neutrals, who but watch the
opportunity to fly at her throat; and, shameful fact! the blessing of the Pope rests
upon the Moslem standards, and his curse against his fellow Christians has been read
in all the Catholic churches. For my part, I care a great deal less even than my
countrymen for his blessings or curses, for, besides other reasons, I regard this war
not as one of Christian against Moslem, but as one of humanity and civilization
against barbarism.
Page 260
This is the view of the Catholic Czechs of Bohemia. So great was their indignation at
what they rightly considered the dishonor of the Roman Catholic Church, that on the
4th of July—anniversary of the martyrdom of John Huss*—notwithstanding the
efforts of the police, they repaired in multitudes to the heights of Smichovo, Beraun
and other hills around Prague and burnt at the stake the portraits and wax effigies of
the Pope and the Prince Archbishop Schwartzenberg, and the Papal discourse against
the Russian Emperor and army, singing the while Slavonian national songs, and
shouting, “Down with the Pope!” “Death to the Ultramontanes!’ ‘‘Hurrah for the
All of which shows that there are good Catholics among the Slavonians, at least, who
rightly hold in higher estimation the principles of national solidarity than foolish
dogmas of the Vatican, even though backed by pretended infallibility.
August 9.
[In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. IV, p. 79, there is a cutting from the Banner of
Light of September 8, 1877. It is a very appreciative review by Dr. G. Bloede of some
advance sheets of Isis Unveiled. H.P.B. wrote at the bottom of the first column:]
This is the same Dr. Bloede who a year before abused us & Theosophy & then
made my acquaintance, begged my pardon &—joined us, and ever remained a friend.
* [In 1415.—Compiler.]
Page 261
[The Sun, New York, Vol. XLIV, No. 350, August 16, 1877]
To the Editor of The Sun:
Sir: At the ceremony of “feet-washing” which occurred at Limwood Camp
ground, August 8th, and is described in The Sun of today, Elder Jones, of
Mechanicsburg, Pa., professed to give the history of this ancient custom. The report
He claimed that its origin did not date anterior to the coming of Christ; neither
was the matter of cleanliness to be thought of in this connection. Its observance was
due exclusively to the fact that it was a scriptural injunction; it originated in Christ’s
example, and it devolved upon his hearers to follow this example. Numerous
scriptural passages were quoted in support of this argument.
The reverend gentleman is in error. The ceremony was first performed by the
Hindoo Christna (or Krishna), who washed the feet of the Brahmins, as an example
of humility, many thousand years anterior to the Christian era. Chapter and verse will
be given, if required, from the Brahmanical books. Meanwhile, the reader is referred
to the Rev. John P. Lundy’s Monumental Christianity, p. 154.
New York, August 12th.
Page 262
[The World, New York, September 25, 1877]
It is to be regretted that your incandescent contemporary, The Sun, should have
no better sources of information. It stated on Saturday last that “in Russia the
persecution of the Israelites is continued, with nearly all its ancient cruelty. They are
not permitted to reside in many of the greatest cities. Kief and Novgorod, as well as
Moscow, are forbidden to them, and even in the rural districts they are burdened with
multiform exactions.”
This is the reverse of correct, as is the further statement that “they have been
robbed and oppressed in Bulgaria by the Russians.” The murdering and plundering at
the seat of war, it is now pretty well settled, has been done by the Turks exclusively,
and, notwithstanding that the English and other Turkophile organs have diligently
cast the blame upon the Russians, the plot of the Ottoman Government, thanks to the
honest old Emperor of Germany, is now discovered. The Turks are convicted of
systematic lying, and nearly every country, including England herself, has sent its
protest to the Sublime Porte against her atrocities. As to the condition of Israelites in
Russia, it has immensely improved since the accession of Alexander II to the throne
of his father. For more than ten years they have been placed on jury duty, admitted to
the bar and otherwise accorded civil rights and privileges. If social disabilities still
linger, we are scarcely the ones to chide, in view of our Saratoga and Long Branch
custom, and the recent little unpleasantness between Mr. Hilton and the descendants
of the “chosen people.”
If your neighbor would take the trouble to ask any traveller or Russian Israelite
now in America it would learn that Kief, as well as other “greatest cities” are full of
Jews; that in fact there are more Jews than Gentiles in the first named of those cities.
Page 263
Pretty much all trade is in their hands, and they furnish even all the olive oil that is
permanently burnt at the rakas (shrines) of the 700 orthodox saints whose beatified
mummies fill up the Catacombs of Kief, and the wax for the candles on all the altars;
and it is again the Jews who keep the dram-shops, or kabak, where the faithful
congregate after service to give a last filip to their devotional ardor. It is barely four
months since the chief Rabbi of Moscow published in the official Vedomosty an
earnest address to his co-religionists throughout the empire to remind them that they
were Russians by nativity, and called upon them to display their patriotism in
subscriptions for the wounded, prayers in the synagogues for the success of the
Russian arms and all other practical ways. In 1870, during the émeute in Odessa,
which was caused by some Jewish children throwing dirt into the church on Easter
night, and which lasted more than a week, the Russian soldiers shot and bayonetted
twelve Christian Russians and not a single Jew; while—and I speak as an eyewitness
— over two hundred rioters were publicly whipped by order of the Governor-
General, Kotzebue,* of whom none were Israelites. That there is a hatred between
them and the more fanatical Christians is true, but the Russian Government can be no
more blamed for this than the British and American Governments because
Orangemen and Catholics mutually hate, beat, and occasionally kill each other.
New York, September 24th.
* [Count Paul Kotzebue, Governor-General of Odessa and later of Warsaw.—Compiler.]
Page 264
[It is here chronologically that the two volumes of H.P.B.’s first great work, Isis
Unveiled, belong. In a letter addressed to her friend, Alexander Nikolayevich
Aksakov, and dated October 2, 1877, she says: “. . . My work has appeared. It was
born, the dear thing, last Saturday, September 29 . . .”* She also says that the first
edition—most likely the first printing or “run” —consisted of 1,000 copies, and these
were sold in two days, so that some of the subscribers had to wait a week or more
until another “run” could be made ready.
Isis Unveiled was published in Two Volumes by J. W. Bouton, 706 Broadway,
New York, and also bears the imprint of Bernard Quaritch, London. Its subtitle is: “A
Master Key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modern Science and Theology.” The
original edition has a dark red binding with the title, author’s name and a symbolic
figure of Isis on the spine in gold.
Consult Col. Olcott’s Old Diary Leaves, First Series, for his interesting account
of the manner in which this work was written. And the more comprehensive outline
appended to the edition of Isis Unveiled as part of the present Series.—Compiler.]
[In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. IV, p. 83, there is a cutting concerning Dr. J. M.
Peeble’s travels in India and Africa. He looks upon Buddhists as being Spiritualists,
and suggests that millions of Spiritualistic tracts be distributed among them to
enlighten them on the subject of “angel ministry.”
To this H.P.B. added the following remarks in pen and ink:]
Heaven save the mark! It is not enough for the poor Hindus to be pestered with
Christian missionaries, but they must have the affliction of being bombarded with
tracts and lectures of modern Spiritualism. Of Spiritualism of which they and their
forefathers were just masters and professors for the last several millenniums.
* Translated from the Russian original in the work of Vsevolod S. Solovyov, Sovremennaya Zhritsa
Isidi (Modern Priestess of Isis), St. Petersburg, 1904, p. 287. Cf. English transl. by Walter Leaf,
London, 1895, p. 276.
Page 265
[Religio-Philosophical Journal, Chicago, Vol. XXIII, Nov. 17, 1877]
Editor, Journal:
Dear Sir,—I perceive that of late the ostracized subject of the Kabalistic
“elementaries,” is beginning to appear in the orthodox spiritual papers, pretty often.
No wonder; Spiritualism and its philosophy are progressing, and they will progress,
despite the opposition of some very learned ignoramuses who imagine the cosmos
rotates within the academic brain. But if a new term is once admitted for discussion
the least we can do is to first clearly ascertain what that term means; we students of
the Oriental philosophy count it a clear gain that Spiritualist journals on both sides of
the Atlantic are beginning to discuss the subject of subhuman and earth-bound beings,
even though they ridicule the idea. Only do those who ridicule it know what they are
talking about? Having never studied the Kabalist writers, it becomes evident to me
that they confound the “elementaries”—disembodied, vicious, and earth-bound, yet
human spirits, with the “elementals,” or nature-spirits.
With your permission, then, I will answer an article by Dr. Woldrich, which
appeared in your Journal of the 27th inst., and to which the author gives the title of
“Elementaries.” I freely admit that owing to my imperfect knowledge of English at
the time I first wrote upon the elementaries, I may have myself contributed to the
present confusion, and thus brought upon my doomed head the wrath of Spiritualists,
mediums, and their “guides” into the bargain. But now I will attempt to make my
meaning clear. Éliphas Lévi applies equally the term “elementary” to earthbound
human spirits and to the creatures of the elements.
Page 266
This carelessness on his part is due to the fact that as the human elementaries are
considered by the Kabalists as having irretrievably lost every chance of immortality,
they therefore, after a certain period of time, become no better than the elementals
who never had any soul at all. To disentangle the subject, I have, in my Isis Unveiled,
shown that the former should alone be called “elementaries,” and the latter
“elementals” (Before the Veil, Vol. I, pp. Xxix-xxx).
Dr. Woldrich, in imitation of Herbert Spencer, attempts to explain the existence
of a popular belief in nature-spirits, demons and mythological deities, as the effect of
an imagination untutored by science, and wrought upon by misunderstood natural
phenomena. He attributes the legendary sylphs, undines, salamanders and gnomes,
four great families, which include numberless subdivisions, to mere fancy; going,
however, to the extreme of affirming that by long practice one can acquire “that
power which disembodied spirits have of materializing apparitions by his will.”
Granted that “disembodied spirits” have sometimes that power, but if disembodied,
why not embodied spirit also, i.e., a yet living person who has become an adept in
occultism through study? According to Dr. Woldrich’s theory an embodied spirit or
magician can create only subjectively, or to quote his words—“he is in the habit of
summoning, that is, bringing up to his imagination his familiar spirits, which, having
responded to his will, he will consider as real existences.”
I will not stop to inquire for the proofs of this assertion, for it would only lead to
an endless discussion. If many thousands of Spiritualists in Europe and America have
seen materialized objective forms which assure them they were the spirits of once
living persons, millions of Eastern people throughout the past ages have seen the
Hierophants of the temples, and even now see them in India, also evoking, without
being in the least mediums, objective and tangible forms, which display no
pretensions to being the souls of disembodied men. But I will only remark that, as Dr.
Woldrich tells us that, though subjective and invisible to others, these forms are
palpable, hence objective to the clairvoyant, no scientist has yet mastered the
mysteries of even the physical sciences sufficiently to enable him to contradict, with
anything like plausible or incontrovertible proofs, the assumption that because a
clairvoyant sees a form remaining subjective to others, this form is nevertheless
neither a hallucination nor a fiction of the imagination.
Page 267
Were the persons present endowed with the same clairvoyant faculty, they would
everyone of them see this “creature of hallucination” as well; hence there would be
sufficient proof that it had an objective existence. And this is how the experiments are
conducted in certain psychological training schools, as I call such establishments in
the East. One clairvoyant is never trusted. The person may be honest, truthful, and
have the greatest desire to learn only that which is real, and yet mix the truth
unconsciously and accept an elemental for a disembodied spirit, and vice versa. For
instance, what guarantee can Dr. Woldrich give us that “Hoki” and “Thalla,” the
guides of Miss May Shaw, were not simply creatures produced by the power of
imagination? This gentleman may have the word of his clairvoyant for this; he may
implicitly and very deservedly trust her honesty when in her normal state; but the fact
alone that a medium is a passive and docile instrument in the hands of some invisible
and mysterious powers, ought to make her irresponsible in the eyes of every serious
investigator. It is the spirit, or these invisible powers, he has to test, not the
clairvoyant’s; and what proof has he of their trustworthiness that he should think
himself warranted in coming out as the exponent of a philosophy based on thousands
of years of practical experience, the iconoclast of experiments performed by whole
generations of learned Egyptian Hierophants, Guru-Brahmans, adepts of the
sanctuaries, and a whole host of more or less learned Kabalists, who were all trained
Seers? Such an accusation, moreover, is dangerous ground for the Spiritualists
themselves. Admit once that a magician creates his forms only in fancy, and as a
result of hallucination, and what becomes of all the guides, spirit friends, and the tutti
quanti from the sweet Summerland crowding around the trance medium and seers?
Why these would-be disembodied entities should be considered more identified than
the elementals, or as Dr. Woldrich terms them, “elementaries”—of the magician, is
something which could scarcely bear investigation.
Page 268
From the standpoint of certain Buddhist schools, your correspondent may be right.
Their philosophy teaches that even our visible universe assumed an objective form as
a result of the fancy followed by the volition or the will of the unknown and supreme
adept, differing from Christian theology, however, inasmuch as they teach that
instead of calling out our universe from nothingness, he had to exercise this will upon
pre-existing matter, eternal and indestructible as to invisible substance, though
temporary and ever-changing as to forms. Some higher and still more subtle
metaphysical schools of Nepal even go so far as to affirm—on very reasonable
grounds too—that this pre-existing and self-existent substance or matter (Svabhavat)
is itself without any other creator or ruler; when in the state of activity it is Pravritti, a
universal creating principle; when latent and passive, they call this force Nivritti. As
for something eternal and infinite, for that which had neither beginning nor end, there
can be neither past nor future, but everything that was and will be, IS, therefore there
never was an action or even thought, however simple, that is not impressed in
imperishable records on this substance called by the Buddhists Svabhavat, by the
Kabalists astral light. As in a faithful mirror this light reflects every image, and no
human imagination could see anything outside that which exists impressed
somewhere on the eternal substance. To imagine that a human brain can conceive of
anything that was never conceived of before by the “universal brain,” is a fallacy, and
a conceited presumption. At best, the former can catch now and then stray glimpses
of the “eternal thought” after these have assumed some objective form, either in the
world of the invisible or visible universe. Hence the unanimous testimony of trained
seers goes to prove that there are such creatures as the elementals; and that though the
elementaries have been at some time human spirits, they, having lost every
connection with the purer immortal world, must be recognized by some special term
which would draw a distinct line of demarcation between them and the true and
genuine disembodied souls which have henceforth to remain immortal.
Page 269
To the Kabalists and the adepts, especially in India, the difference between the two is
all important, and their tutored minds will never allow them to mistake the one for the
other; to the untutored medium they are all one.
Spiritualists have never accepted the suggestions and sound advice of certain of
their seers and mediums. They have regarded Mr. Peebles’ “Gadarenes” with
indifference; they have shrugged their shoulders at the “Rosicrucian” fantasies of P.
B. Randolph, and his “Ravalette” has made none of them the wiser; they have
frowned and grumbled at A. Jackson Davis’ “Diakka”; and finally lifting high the
banner have declared a murderous war of extermination to the Theosophists and
Kabalists. What are now the results?
A series of exposures of fraudulent mediums that have brought mortification to
their endorsers and dishonor upon the cause; identification by genuine seers and
mediums of pretended spirit-forms that were afterwards found to be mere
personations by living cheats—which goes to prove that in such instances at least,
outside of clear cases of confederacy the identifications were due to illusion on the
part of the said seers: spirit-babes discovered to be battered masks and bundles of
rags; obsessed mediums driven by their guides to drunkenness and immorality of
conduct—the practices of free love endorsed and even prompted by alleged immortal
spirits; sensitive believers forced to the commission of murder, suicide, forgery,
embezzlement and other crimes; the overcredulous led to waste their substance in
foolish investments and the search after hidden treasures; mediums fostering ruinous
speculations in stocks; free loveites parted from their wives in search of other female
affinities; two continents flooded with the vilest slanders, spoken and sometimes
printed by mediums against other mediums; incubi and succubi entertained as
returning angel-husbands or wives; mountebanks and jugglers protected by scientists
and the clergy and gathering large audiences to witness imitations of the phenomena
of cabinets, the reality of which genuine mediums themselves and spirits are
powerless to vindicate by giving the necessary test-conditions; séances still held in
Stygian darkness where even genuine phenomena can readily be mistaken for the
false and false for the real;
Page 270
mediums left helpless by their angel guides, tried, convicted and sent to prison and no
attempt made to save them from their fate by those, who, if they are spirits having the
power of controlling mortal affairs, ought to have enlisted the sympathy of the
heavenly hosts in behalf of their mediums in the face of such crying injustice; other
faithful Spiritualist lecturers and mediums broken down in health and left
unsupported by those calling themselves their patrons and protectors. Such are some
of the features of the present situation, the black spots of what ought to become the
grandest and noblest of all religious philosophies—freely thrown by the unbelievers
and materialists into the teeth of every Spiritualist; no intelligent person of the latter
class need go outside of his own personal experience to find examples like the above.
Spiritualism has not progressed and is not progressing, and will not progress until its
facts are viewed in the light of the Oriental philosophy.
Thus, Mr. Editor, your esteemed correspondent, Dr. Woldrich, may be found
guilty of two erroneous propositions. In the concluding sentence of his article he
I know not whether I have succeeded in proving the “elementary” a myth, but at
least I hope that I have thrown some more light upon the subject to some of the
readers of the Journal.
To this I would answer: (1) He has not proved at all the “elementary a myth,”
since the elementaries are with a few exceptions the earth-bound guides and spirits in
which he believes together with every other Spiritualist; (2) Instead of throwing light
upon the subject the Doctor has but darkened it the more; (3) Such explanations and
careless exposures do the greatest harm to the future of Spiritualism and greatly serve
to retard its progress, by teaching its adherents that they have nothing more to learn.
Page 271
Sincerely hoping that I have not trespassed too much on the columns of your
esteemed Journal, allow me to sign myself, dear Sir, yours respectfully,
Corresponding Secretary of the Theosophical Society.
New York.
[In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. IV, p. 95, there is a cutting from the Religio-
Philosophical Journal with an article by E. Gerry Brown on Elementaries and
Elementals. It is Brown’s reaction to H.P.B.’s own article entitled “Elementaries” in
the same Journal, and he is defending the Spiritualistic viewpoint. H.P.B. wrote the
following remarks in pen and ink :]
Bravo Gerry Brown! Good and noble from a friend who not long ago called us
his benefactors!! E. G. Brown a medium, a sensitive, c’est tout dire.
[In her Scrapbook, Vol. I, p. 70, H.P.B. pasted the last portion of an article by
Emily Kislingbury entitled “Spiritualism in America,” published in The Spiritualist of
London, December 14, 1877. Above the cutting, H.P.B. wrote in ink:]
Address delivered by our friend and Brahmabodhini—Emily Kislingbury before
the B. N. Asson of Spiritualists in London December 1877.
Complimentary bits from it—to poor H.P.B. (poor Violet!)
[The last parenthetical remark is in blue pencil and might have been added by
Col. Olcott.]
[In her Scrapbook, Vol. VII, p. 46, H.P.B. pasted another article by the same
writer and wrote the following remarks on a small card decorated with coloured
Emily Kislingbury, one of the few redeeming features of Humanity.
Page 272
[Religio-Philosophical Journal, Chicago, Vol. XXIII, December 22, 1877, p. 8]
A wise saying that which affirms that he who seeks to prove too much, in the
end proves nothing. Professor W. B. Carpenter, F.R.S. (and otherwise alphabetically
adorned), furnishes a conspicuous example in his strife with men better than himself.
His assaults accumulate bitterness with every new periodical he makes his organ; and
in proportion with the increase of his abuse his arguments lose force and cogency.
And, forsooth, he nevertheless lectures his antagonists for their lack of “calm
discussion,” as though he were not the very type of controversial nitroglycerine!
Rushing at them with his proofs, which are “incontrovertible” only in his own
estimation, he commits himself more than once. By one of such committals I mean to
profit today, by citing some curious experience of my own.
My object in writing the present is far from that of taking any part in this
onslaught upon reputations. Messrs. Wallace and Crookes are well able to take care
of themselves. Each has contributed in his own specialty towards real progress in
useful knowledge more than Dr. Carpenter in his. Both have been honored for
valuable original researches and discoveries, while their accuser has been often
charged of being no better than a very clever compiler of other men’s ideas. After
reading the able rejoinders of the “defendants,” and the scathing review of the Maceswinging
Professor Buchanan, everyone—except his friends, the psychophobists—
can see that Dr. Carpenter is completely floored. He is as dead as the traditional
In the December Supplement of the Popular Science Monthly, I find (p. 116) the
interesting admission that a poor Hindu juggler can perform a feat that quite takes the
great Professor’s breath away! In comparison, the mediumistic phenomena of Miss
Nichol (Mrs. Guppy) are of no account.
Page 273
“The celebrated ‘tree-trick,’” says Dr. Carpenter, “which most people who have
been long in India have seen, as described by several of our most distinguished
civilians and scientific officers, is simply the greatest marvel I [he] ever heard of.
That a mango tree should first shoot up to a height of six inches, from a grassplot to
which the conjurers had no previous access, beneath an inverted cylindrical basket,
whose emptiness has been previously demonstrated, and that this tree should appear
to grow in the course of half an hour from six inches to six feet, under a succession of
taller and yet taller baskets, quite beats Miss Nichol.”
Well, I should think it did. At any rate it beats anything that any F.R.S. can show
by daylight or dark, in the Royal Institution or elsewhere. Would not one think that
such a phenomenon so attested and occurring under circumstances that preclude
trickery, would provoke scientific investigation? If not, what would? But observe the
knot hole through which an F.R.S. can creep out. “Does Mr. Wallace,” ironically asks
the Professor, “attribute this to a spiritual agency? or, like the world in general [of
course meaning the world that science created and Carpenter energizes] and the
performers of the ‘tree-trick’ in particular, does he regard it as a piece of clever
Leaving Mr. Wallace—if he survives this Jovian thunderbolt—to answer for
himself, I have to say for the “performers,” that they would respond with an emphatic
“No” to both interrogatories. The Hindu jugglers neither claim for their performance
a “spiritual agency,” nor admit it to be a “trick of clever jugglery.” The ground they
take is that the tricks are produced by certain powers inherent in man himself, which
may be used for a good or bad purpose. And the ground that I, humbly following after
those whose opinion is based on really exact psychological experiments and
knowledge take, is that neither Dr. Carpenter nor his bodyguard of scientists, though
their titles stream after their names like the tail after a kite, have as vet the slightest
conception of these powers. To acquire even a superficial knowledge of them, they
must change their scientific and philosophical methods. Following after Wallace and
Crookes they must begin with the A B C of Spiritualism, which, meaning to be very
scornful, Dr. Carpenter terms “the centre of enlightenment and progress.”
Page 274
They must take their lessons not alone from the true but as well from spurious
phenomena, from what his (Carpenter’s) chief authority, the “arch priest of the new
religion,” properly classifies as “Delusions, Absurdities and Trickeries.” After wading
through all this, as every intelligent investigator has had to do, he may get some
glimpses of truth. It is as useful to learn what the phenomena are not, as to find out
what they are.
Dr. Carpenter has two patent keys warranted to unlock every secret door of the
mediumistic cabinet. They are labelled “expectancy” and “prepossession.” Most
scientists have some picklock like this. But to the “tree-trick” they scarcely apply; for
neither his “distinguished civilians” nor “scientific officers,” could have expected to
see a stark naked Hindu, on a strange grassplot, in full daylight make a mango grow
six feet from the seed in half an hour; their “prepossessions” would be all against it. It
can’t be a “spiritual agency,” it must be “jugglery.” Now, Maskelyne and Cooke, two
clever English jugglers, have been keeping the mouths and eyes of all London wide
open with their exposures of Spiritualism. They are admired by all the scientists, and
at Slade’s trial figured as expert witnesses for the prosecution. They are at Dr.
Carpenter’s elbow. Why does he not call them to explain this clever jugglery, and
make Messrs. Wallace and Crookes blush with shame at their own idiocy? All the
tricks of the trade are familiar to them; where can science find better allies? But we
must insist upon identical conditions. The “tree-trick” must not be performed by
gaslight on the platform of any Egyptian Hall, nor with the performers in full evening
dress. It must be in broad daylight, on a strange grassplot to which the conjurers had
no previous access. There must be no machinery, no confederates. White cravats and
swallow-tailed coats must be laid aside and the English champions appear in the
primitive apparel of Adam and Eve—a tight-fitting “coat of skin,” and with the single
addition of a dhoti, or a breech cloth seven inches wide. The Hindus do all this, and
we only ask fair play.
Page 275
If they raise a mango sapling under these circumstances, Dr. Carpenter will be at
perfect liberty to beat with it the last remnant of brains out of the head of any “crazy
Spiritualist” he may encounter. But until then, the less he says about Hindu jugglery
the better for his scientific reputation.
It is not to be denied that in India, China and elsewhere in the East there are
veritable jugglers who exhibit tricks. Equally true is it that some of these
performances surpass any with which Western people are acquainted. But these are
neither “fakirs” nor the performers of the “mango tree” marvel, as described by Dr.
Carpenter. Even this is sometimes imitated both by Indian and European adepts in
sleight-of-hand, but under totally different conditions. Modestly following in the rear
of the “distinguished civilians” and “scientific officers,” I will now narrate something
which I have seen with my own eyes.
While at Cawnpoor, en route to Benares, the holy city, a lady, my travelling
companion, was robbed of the entire contents of a small trunk. Jewellery, dresses, and
even her notebook, containing a diary which she had been carefully compiling for
over three months, had mysteriously disappeared, without the lock of the valise
having been disturbed. Several hours, perhaps a night and a day had passed since the
robbery, as we had started at daybreak to explore some neighboring ruins, yet freshly
allied with the Nana Sahib’s reprisals on the English. My companion’s first thought
was to call upon the local police—mine for the help of some native gosâîn (a holy
man supposed to be informed of everything) or at least a “jâdûgar” or conjurer. But
the ideas of civilization prevailed, and a whole week was wasted in fruitless visits to
the “chabutara” (police house) and interviews with the “kotwal”—its chief. In
despair, my expedient was at last resorted to, and a gosâîn procured. We occupied a
small bungalow at the extreme end of one of the suburbs, on the right bank of the
Ganges, and from the verandah a full view of the river was had, which at that place
was very narrow.
Page 276
Our experiment was made on that verandah, m the presence of the family of the
landlord—a half-caste Portuguese from the South—my friend and myself, and two
freshly imported Frenchmen, who laughed outrageously at our superstition. Time,
three o’clock in the afternoon. The heat was suffocating, but notwithstanding, the
holy man—a coffee-colored, living skeleton—demanded that the motion of the
punkah (hanging fan worked by a cord) should be stopped. He gave no reason, but it
was because the agitation of the air interferes with all delicate magnetic experiments.
We had all heard of the “rolling-pot,” as an agency for the detection of theft in India,
a common iron pot being made under the influence of a Hindu conjurer, to roll of its
own impulse, without any hand touching it, to the very spot where the stolen goods
are concealed. The gosâîn proceeded otherwise. He first of all demanded some article
that had been latest in contact with the contents of the valise; a pair of gloves was
handed him. He pressed them between his thin palms, and rolling them over and over
again; then dropped them on the floor, and proceeded to turn himself slowly around,
with arms outstretched and fingers expanded, as though he were seeking the direction
in which the property lay. Suddenly, he stopped with a jerk, sank gradually to the
floor and remained motionless, sitting cross-legged and with his arms still
outstretched in the same direction, as though plunged in a cataleptic trance. This
lasted for over an hour, which in that suffocating atmosphere, was to us one long
torture. Suddenly the landlord sprang from his seat to the balustrade, and began
instantly looking towards the river, in which direction our eyes also turned. Coming
from whence, or how, we could not tell; but out there, over the water, and near its
surface, was a dark object approaching. What it was we could not make out; but the
mass seemed impelled by some interior force to revolve, at first slowly, but then
faster and faster as it drew near. It was as though supported on an invisible pavement,
and its course was in a direct line as the bee flies. It reached the bank, disappeared
again among the high vegetation, and anon, rebounding with force as it leaped over
the low garden wall, flew rather than rolled on the verandah and dropped with a
heavy thud under the extended palms of the gosâîn.
Page 277
A violent, convulsive tremor shook the frame of the old man, as with a deep sigh
he opened his half-closed eyes. All were astounded, but the Frenchmen stared at the
bundle with an expression of idiotic terror in their eyes! Rising from the ground the
holy man opened the tarred canvas envelope and within were found all the stolen
articles down to the least thing. Without a word, or waiting for thanks, he salaamed
low to the company and disappeared through the doorway before we recovered from
our surprise. We had to run after him a long way before we could press upon him a
dozen rupees, which blessings he received in his wooden bowl.
This may appear a very surprising and incredible story to Europeans and
Americans who have never been in India. But we have Dr. Carpenter’s authority for
it, that even his “distinguished civilian” friends and “scientific officers,” who are as
little likely to sniff out anything mystical there, with their aristocratic noses, as Dr.
Carpenter to see it with his telescopic, microscopic, double-magnifying scientific
eyes in England, have witnessed the mango “tree-trick,” which is still more
wonderful. If the latter is “clever jugglery” the other—must be, too. Will the whitecravated
and swallow-tailed gentlemen of Egyptian Hall please show the Royal
Society how either is done?
[Sometime in December, 1877, W. J. Colville, a trance medium, was giving
trance-addresses in London. A cutting pasted in H. P. B’s Scrapbook. Vol. IV, p. 108,
tells that his guides lectured the Sunday before against the views of the Theosophists,
as laid down by Col. Olcott. Under this statement, H.P.B. wrote in pencil:]
Oh poor miserable Moloney! We must be disreputable and wrong in our views
indeed to have thus lecturing against the latter the sweet denizens of the Sugary
Spheeeres!!!. . .
Page 278
[In her Scrapbook, Vol. IV, p. 125, H.P.B. pasted a cutting from the New York
World of April 4, 1874, entitled “Incremation.” It is most likely that the following
remarks written by her in red pencil (much faded) were made at a later period,
probably about the end of 1877:]
A PAGE FAR BACK—H. S. Olcott’s idea on “Cremation” so far back as 1874;
which proves that the cremation of the Baron was not due to theosophical ideas alone.
[In the same Scrapbook, Vol. IV, p. 140, H.P.B. pasted a cutting concerning the
exposure of the medium James M. Choate whose alleged phenomenal flowers were
hidden in his handkerchief. It appears that the medium, “without making any
explanation,” departed “by the back entrance.” H.P.B. added the following suggestion
in pen and ink:]
Insist upon thoroughly searching every “Medium,” and thus two-thirds of them
will do likewise—and disappear through the back door . . .
Page 281
[In connection with an article by George Corbyn entitled “Rosicrucianism” and
published in the Spiritual Scientist, criticising the article by “Hiraf” as well as
H.P.B.’s reply thereto, H.P.B. wrote in her Scrapbook, Vol. III, p. 256, as follows:]
I am sorry Mr. Corbyn is so ignorant of Masonry. Since his was written I have
received from the Sovereign Grand Master General of the A. and P. Rite of England
and Wales a diploma of 32nd Degree.
N. Y. Jan.
[In her Scrapbook, Vol. IV, p. 152, H.P.B, pasted a cutting from the London
Spiritualist of January 18, 1878, which contains “Some Personal Experiences in
Mediumship” from the pen of Baroness Adelma von Vay (Countess Wurmbrand).
Although the writer expresses her admiration for H.P.B. in connection with Isis
Unveiled, she says, however: “While our elementaries are spirits doing penance for
past sin, and preparing themselves for a better state of existence, her elementals are
souls which have already lost their spirits, and will themselves, in process of time,
become annihilated.”
Underlining the sentence italicized above, H.P.B. wrote in pen and ink as
Quite the reverse. Never said such a thing and the “Isis” is there to show the
mistake. Either the fair Baroness has not read it (with) attention, or she did not
understand it.
Page 282
[In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. IV, p. 163, there isa cutting from the London
Spiritualist of January 25, 1878. It is a Letter to the Editor from Dr. J. M. Peebles,
who is attempting to prove that there are Hindu Spiritualists by quoting the words of
Peary Chand Mittra who used the expression “the nobleness of Spiritualism.” To this
H.P.B. appended the following remarks in pen and ink:]
Yes, the nobleness of Spiritualism—not of modern Phenomenalism, great
difference. Ask Peary Chand Mittra whether he would accept “materialized” spooks
with sweating and corpse-stinking bodies for his dear “departed ones”? and see what
he will answer . . . That our friend Peebles has always had a tendency to confer the
name of Spiritualist on every one he met, the following is a proof.
[Here H.P.B. drew a line to a cutting on the same page entitled “Is Longfellow a
Spiritualist?” in which Longfellow declines to be considered as such. H.P.B. then
continues her remark thus :]
(See what Peary Chand Mittra writes on the subject of materialization. February
8, 1878. )
[Underneath H.P.B. pasted a printed picture showing the enormous figure of a
native woman. The title is: “Cuzco Costumes—Woman of the Lower Order,” to
which picture H.P.B. added the comment:]
at some future date—a “materialized” Angel.
Page 283
[Religio-Philosophical Journal, Chicago, Vol. XXIII, January 26, 1878,p.2]
Editor, Journal:
Dear Sir,—I must beg you to again allow me a little space for the further
elucidation of a very important question—that of the “Elementals” and the
“Elementaries.” It is a misfortune that our European languages do not contain a
nomenclature expressive of the various grades and conditions of spiritual beings. But
surely I cannot be blamed for either the above linguistic deficiency, or because some
people do not choose or are unable to understand my meaning! I cannot too often
repeat that in this matter I claim no originality. My teachings are but the substance of
what many kabalists have said before me, which, today, I mean to prove with your
kind permission.
I am accused (1) of “turning somersaults” and jumping from one idea to another.
The defendant pleads not guilty. (2) Of coining not only words, but philosophies out
of the depths of my consciousness: defendant enters the same plea. (3) Of having
repeatedly asserted that “intelligent spirits other than those who have passed through
an earth experience in a human body were concerned in the manifestations known as
the phenomena of Spiritualism:” true, and defendant repeats the assertion. (4) Of
having advanced, in my bold and unwarranted theories, “beyond the great Eliphas
Lévi himself.” Indeed? Were I to go even as far as he (see his La Science des Esprits),
I would deny that a single so-called spiritual manifestation is more than hallucination,
produced by soulless Elementals, whom he calls “Elementary.” (See Dogme et Rituel
de la Haute Magie.)
I am asked, “What proof is there of the existence of the elementals?” In my turn,
I will inquire, what proof is there of “diakkas,” “guides,” “bands,” and “controls”?
And yet these terms are all current among Spiritualists.
Page 284
The unanimous testimony of innumerable observers and competent experimenters
furnishes the proof. If Spiritualists cannot or will not go to those countries where they
are living, and these proofs are accessible, they, at least, have no right to give the lie
direct to those who have seen both the adepts and the proofs. My witnesses are living
men, teaching and, exemplifying the philosophy of hoary ages; theirs, these very
“guides” and “controls” who, up to the present time, are at best hypothetical, and
whose assertions have been repeatedly found, by Spiritualists themselves,
contradictory and false.
If my present critics insist that since the discussion of this matter began a
disembodied soul has never been described as an “elementary,” I merely point to the
number of the London Spiritualist for February 18th, 1876, published nearly two
years ago, in which a correspondent, who has certainly studied occult sciences, says:
“Is it not probable that some of the elementary spirits of an evil type are those spiritbodies
which, only recently disembodied, are on the eve of an eternal dissolution, and
which continue their temporary existence only by vampirizing those still in the flesh?
They had existence; they never attained to being.” Note two things: that human
elementaries are recognized as existing, apart from the gnomes, sylphs, undines and
salamanders—beings purely elemental; and that annihilation of the soul is regarded
as potential.
Says Paracelsus, in his Philosophia Sagax: “The current of astral light with its
peculiar inhabitants, gnomes, sylphs, etc., is transformed into human light at the
moment of the conception, and it becomes the first envelope of the soul—its grosser
portion; combined with the most subtle fluids, it forms the sidereal (astral, or
ethereal) phantom—the inner man.”* And Éliphas Lévi: “The astral light is saturated
with souls which it discharges in the incessant generation of beings . . .
* [Reference is to the work entitled: Astronomia magna: oder die gantze Philosophia sagax der
grossen und kleinen Welt, Frankfurt, Hieronymus Feyerabends, 1571. British Museum: 531.n.23,
1st ed.—Compiler.]
Page 285
At the birth of a child, they influence the four temperaments of the latter—the
element of the gnomes predominates in melancholy persons; of the salamanders in
the sanguine; of the undines, in the phlegmatic; of the sylphs, in the giddy and
bilious. . . . These are the spirits which we designate under the term of occult
elements.” (Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie, Vol. II, chapter on the conjuration of
the four classes of elementaries.) “Yes, yes,” he remarks (in Vol. I, op. cit., p. 164),
“these spirits of the elements do exist. Some wandering in their spheres, others trying
to incarnate themselves, others again already incarnated and living on earth. These
are vicious and imperfect men.”
Note that we have here described to us more or less “intelligent spirits other
than those who have passed through an earth experience in a human body.” If not
intelligent, they would not know how to make the attempt to incarnate themselves.
Vicious elementals, or elementaries, are attracted to vicious parents; they bask in their
atmosphere, and are thus afforded the chance by the vices of the parents to perpetuate
in the child the paternal wickedness. The unintellectual “elementals” are draw in
unconsciously to themselves; and in the order of nature, as component parts of the
grosser astral body or soul, determine the temperament. They can as little resist as the
animalcules can avoid entering into our bodies in the water we swallow.
Of a third class, out of hundreds that the Eastern philosophers and kabalists are
acquainted with, Éliphas Lévi, discussing spiritistic phenomena, says: “They are
neither the souls of the damned nor guilty; the elementary spirits are like children
curious and harmless, and torment people in proportion as attention is paid to them.”
These he regards as the sole agents in all the meaningless and useless physical
phenomena at séances. Such phenomena will be produced unless they be dominated
“by wills more powerful than their own.” Such a will may be that of a living adept, or
as there are none such at Western spiritual séances, these ready agents are at the
disposal of every strong, vicious, earth-bound, human elementary who has been
attracted to the place.
Page 286
By such they can be used in combination with the astral emanations of the circle and
medium, as stuff out of which to make materialized spirits.
So little does Lévi concede the possibility of spirit-return in objective form, that
he says: “The good deceased come back in our dreams; the state of mediumism is an
extension of dream, it is somnambulism in all its variety and ecstasies. Fathom the
phenomenon of sleep and you will understand the phenomena of the spirits”; and
again: “According to one of the great dogmas of the kabala, the spirit despoils itself
in order to ascend, and thus would have to reclothe itself to descend. There is but one
way for a spirit already liberated to manifest itself again on earth—it must get back
into its body and resurrect. This is quite another thing from hiding under a table or a
hat. That is why necromancy is horrible. It constitutes a crime against nature. . . . We
have admitted in our former works the possibility of vampirism, and even tried to
explain it. The phenomena now actually occurring in America and Europe
unquestionably belong to this fearful malady. . . The mediums do not, it is true, eat
the flesh of corpses [like one Sergeant Bertrand], but they breathe in throughout their
whole nervous organism the phosphoric emanations of putrefied corpses, or spectral
light. They are not vampires, but they evoke vampires. For this reason, they are
nearly all debilitated and sick.”*
Do those in Europe and America, who have heretofore described the cadaverous
odor that, in some cases, they have noticed as attending materialized spirits,
appreciate the revolting significance of the above explanation?
Henry Khunrath was a most learned kabalist, and the greatest authority among
mediaeval occultists. He gives, in one of the clavicles of his Amphitheatrum
Sapientiae Aeternae, illustrative engravings of the four great classes of elementary
spirits, as they presented themselves during an evocation of ceremonial magic, before
the eyes of the magus, when, after passing the threshold, he lifts the “Veil of Isis.”
* [La Science des esprits, pp. 241-42, 253-54 in ed. of 1909.]
Page 287
In describing them, Khunrath corroborates Éliphas Lévi. He tells us they are
disembodied, vicious men, who have parted with their divine spirits and become
elementary. They are so termed, “because attracted by the earthly atmosphere, and are
surrounded by the earth’s elements.” Here Khunrath applies the term “elementary” to
human doomed souls, while Lévi uses it, as we have seen, to designate another class
of the same great family—gnomes, sylphs, undines, etc.—sub-human entities.
I have before me a manuscript, intended originally for publication but withheld
for various reasons. The author signs himself “Zeus,” and is a kabalist of more than
twenty-five years’ standing. This experienced occultist, a zealous devotee of
Khunrath, expounding the doctrine of the latter, also says that the kabalists divided
the spirits of the elements into four classes corresponding to the four temperaments in
It is charged against me as a heinous offense that I aver that some men lose their
souls and are annihilated. But this last-named authority, “Zeus,” is equally culpable,
for he says, “They (the kabalists) taught that man’s spirit descended from the great
ocean of spirit, and is therefore, per se, pure and divine; but its soul or capsule,
through the (allegorical) fall of Adam, became contaminated with the world of
darkness, or the world of Satan (evil), of which it must be purified, before it could
ascend again to celestial happiness. Suppose a drop of water enclosed within a
capsule of gelatine and thrown in the ocean; so long as the capsule remains whole,
the drop of water remains isolated: break the envelope, and the drop becomes a part
of the ocean, its individual existence has ceased. So it is with the spirit, so long as its
ray is enclosed in its plastic mediator or soul, it has an individual existence. Destroy
this capsule (the astral man, who then becomes an elementary), which destruction
may occur from the consequences of sin, in the most depraved and vicious, and the
spirit returns back to its original abode—the individualization of man has ceased.”
“This militates,” he adds, “with the idea of progression, that Spiritualists generally
Page 288
If they understood the law of harmony, they would see their error. It is only by this
law that individual life can be sustained; and the farther we deviate from harmony the
more difficult it is to regain it.” To return to Lévi, he remarks (Dogme et Rituel de la
Haute Magic, Vol. I, p. 319), “When we die, our interior light (the soul) ascends,
agreeably to the attraction of its star (the spirit), but it must first of all get rid of the
coils of the serpent (earthly evil—sin); that is to say, of the unpurified astral light,
which surrounds and holds it captive, unless, by the force of will, it frees and elevates
itself. This immersion of the living soul in the dead light (the emanations of
everything that is evil, which pollute the earth’s magnetic atmosphere, as the
exhalation of a swamp does the air) is a dreadful torture; the soul freezes and burns
therein, at the same time.”
The kabalists represent Adam as the Tree of Life, of which the trunk is
humanity; the various races, the branches; and individual men, the leaves. Every leaf
has its individual life, and is fed by the one sap; but it can live through the branch, as
the branch itself draws its life through the trunk. “The wicked,” says the Kabala, “are
the dead leaves and the dead bark of the tree. They fall, die, are corrupted, and
changed into manure, which returns to the tree through the root.”
My friend, Miss Emily Kislingbury, of London, Secretary of the British
National Association of Spiritualists, who is honored, trusted and beloved by all who
know her, sends me a spirit-communication obtained, in April, 1877, through a young
lady, who is one of the purest and most truthful of her sex. The following extracts are
singularly à propos to the subject under discussion: “Friend, you are right. Keep our
Spiritualism pure and high, for there are those who would abase its uses. But it is
because they know not the power of Spiritualism. It is true, in a sense, that the spirit
can overcome the flesh, but there are those to whom the fleshly life is dearer than the
life of the spirit; they tread on dangerous ground. For the flesh may so outgrow the
spirit, as to withdraw from it all spirituality, and man become as a beast of the field,
with no saving power left.
Page 289
These are they whom the Church has termed “reprobate,” eternally lost, but they
suffer not, as the Church has taught—in conscious hells. They merely die, and are
not; their light goes out, and has no conscious being.” (Question): “But is this not
annihilation?” (Answer): “It amounts to annihilation; they lose their individual
entities, and return to the great reservoir of spirit—unconscious spirit.”
Finally, I am asked: “Who are the trained seers?” They are those, I answer, who
have been trained from their childhood in the pagodas, to use their spiritual sight;
those whose accumulated testimony has not varied for thousands of years as to the
fundamental facts of Eastern philosophy; the testimony of each generation
corroborating that of each preceding one. Are these to be trusted more, or less, than
the “communications of “bands,” each of whom contradicts the other as completely
as the various religious sects, which are ready to cut each other’s throats, and of
mediums, even the best of whom are ignorant of their own nature, and unsubjected to
the wise direction and restraint of an adept in psychological science?
No comprehensive idea of nature can be obtained except by applying the law of
harmony and analogy in the spiritual as well as in the physical world. “As above, so
below,” is the old Hermetic axiom. If Spiritualists would apply this to the subject of
their own researches, they would see the philosophical necessity of there being in the
world of spirit as well as in the world of matter, a law of the survival of the fittest.
[In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. IV, pp. 164-65, there is a cutting from the Banner of
Light of February 2, 1878, being an article by Charles Sotheran entitled “Honours to
Madame Blavatsky.” The writer defends H.P.B., her work Isis Unveiled, and the
Masonic Diploma which she received from John Yarker. To this H.P.B. appended the
following remark in pen and ink:]
Page 290
Mr. C. Sotheran who so abused me and the Society has now returned to it again
confessing his mistake and making Puja to me again—Oh humanity!!
[In her Scrapbook, Vol. IV, pp. 169-72, H.P.B. pasted a cutting from the Banner
of Light of February 2, 1878, in which Dr. J. M. Peebles speaks again of the
Buddhists and remarks that “as all English speaking nations are nominally Christians,
so in a broad, general sense all Buddhists are Spiritualists.” H.P.B. marked the quoted
sentence and wrote in blue pencil a side-remark:]
How can they be Spiritualists you goose when they do not believe in the
existence of the “Soul”? Three lies for you!
[The Spiritualist, London, February 8, 1878, pp. 68-69] *
Permit an humble Theosophist to appear for the first time in your columns, to
say a few words in defence of our beliefs. I see in your issue of December 21st
ultimo, one of your correspondents, Mr. J. Croucher, makes the following very bold
Had the Theosophists thoroughly comprehended the nature of the soul and spirit,
and its relation to the body, they would have known that if the soul once left the body,
it could not return. The spirit can leave, but if the soul once leaves, it leaves for ever.
* [In her Scrapbook, Vol. III, p. 197, H.P.B. wrote the following remarks in blue pencil, in
connection with a tribute to W.H. Harrison, the Editor of The Spiritualist:
Very true. The best, most scientific and impartial of all Spiritual papers.
Page 291
This is so ambiguous that, unless he uses the term “soul” to designate only the vital
principle, I can only suppose that he falls into the common error of calling the astral
body, spirit, and the immortal essence, “soul.” We, Theosophists, as Colonel Olcott
has told you, do vice versa.
Besides the unwarranted imputation to us of ignorance, Mr. Croucher has an
idea (peculiar to himself) that the problem which has heretofore taxed the powers of
the metaphysicians in all ages has been solved in our own. It is hardly to be supposed
that Theosophists or any others “thoroughly” comprehend the nature of the soul and
spirit, and their relation to the body. Such an achievement is for Omniscience; and we
Theosophists, treading the path worn by the footsteps of the old sages in the moving
sands of exoteric philosophy, can only hope to approximate the absolute truth. It is
really more than doubtful whether Mr. Croucher can do better, even though an
“inspirational medium,” and experienced “through constant sittings with one of the
best trance mediums” in your country. I may well leave to time and Spiritual
philosophy to entirely vindicate us in the far hereafter. When any Oedipus of this or
the next century shall have solved this eternal enigma of the Sphinx-man, every
modern dogma, not excepting some pets of the Spiritualists, will be swept away, as
the Theban monster, according to the legend, leaped from his promontory into the
sea, and was seen no more.
As early as February 18th, 1876, your learned correspondent, “M. A. (Oxon.),”
took occasion, in an article entitled “Soul and Spirit,” to point out the frequent
confusion of the terms by other writers. As things are no better now, I will take the
opportunity to show how sorely Mr. Croucher, and many other Spiritualists of whom
he may be taken as the spokesman, misapprehended Colonel Olcott’s meaning, and
the views of the New York Theosophists. Colonel Olcott neither affirmed nor
dreamed of implying that the immortal spirit leaves the body to produce the medial
displays. And yet Mr. Croucher evidently thinks he did, for the word “spirit” to him
means the inner astral man or double.
Page 292
Here is what Colonel Olcott did say, double commas and all:
That mediumistic physical phenomena are not produced by pure spirits, but by
“souls” embodied or disembodied, and usually with the help of elementals.
Any intelligent reader must perceive that, in placing the word “souls” in
quotation marks, the writer indicated that he was using it in a sense not his own. As a
Theosophist, he would more properly and philosophically have said for himself
“astral spirits,” or “astral men,” or doubles. Hence, the criticism is wholly without
even a foundation of plausibility. I wonder that a man could be found who, on so frail
a basis, would have attempted so sweeping a denunciation. As it is, our President only
propounded the trine of man, like the ancient and Oriental philosophers and their
worthy imitator Paul, who held that the physical corporeity, the flesh and blood, was
permeated and so kept alive by the psychê, the soul or astral body. This doctrine, that
man is trine—spirit, or Nous, soul and body—was taught by the Apostle of the
Gentiles more broadly and clearly than it has been by any of his Christian successors
(see 1 Thess., v, 23). But having evidently forgotten or neglected to “thoroughly”
study the transcendental opinions of the ancient philosophers and the Christian
Apostles upon the subject, Mr. Croucher views the soul (psychê) as spirit (Nous) and
vice versa.
The Buddhists, who separate the three entities in man (though viewing them as
one when on the path to Nirvana), yet divide the soul into several parts, and have
names for each of these and their functions. Thus confusion is unknown among them.
The old Greeks did likewise, holding that psychê was bios, or physical life, and it was
thumos, or passional nature, the animals being accorded but a lower faculty of the
soul-instinct. The soul or psychê is itself a combination, consensus or unity of the
bios, or physical vitality, the epithumia or concupiscible nature, and the phren, mens,
or mind. Perhaps the animus ought to be included.
Page 293
It is constituted of ethereal substance, which pervades the whole universe, and is
derived wholly from the soul of the world—Anima Mundi or the Buddhist Svabhavat
—which is not spirit; though intangible and impalpable, it is yet, by comparison with
spirit or pure abstraction—objective matter. By its complex nature, the soul may
descend and ally itself so closely to the corporeal nature as to exclude a higher life
from exerting any moral influence upon it. On the other hand, it can so closely attach
to the nous or spirit, as to share its potency, in which case its vehicle, physical man,
will appear as a God even during his terrestrial life. Unless such union of soul and
spirit does occur, either during this life or after physical death, the individual man is
not immortal as an entity. The psychê is sooner or later disintegrated. Though the man
may have gained “the whole world,” he has lost his “soul.” Paul, when teaching the
anastasis, or continuation of individual spiritual life after death, set forth that there
was a physical body which was raised in incorruptible substance. The spiritual body
is most assuredly not one of the bodies, or visible or tangible larvae, which form in
circle-rooms, and are so improperly termed “materialized spirits.” When once the
metanoia, the full developing of spiritual life, has lifted the spiritual body out of the
psychical (the disembodied, corruptible astral man, what Colonel Olcott calls “soul”),
it becomes, in strict ratio with its progress, more and more an abstraction for the
corporeal senses. It can influence, inspire, and even communicate with men
subjectively; it can make itself felt, and even, in those rare instances, when the
clairvoyant is perfectly pure and perfectly lucid, seen by the inner eye (which is the
eye of the purified psychê—soul). But how can it ever manifest objectively?
It will be seen, then, that to apply the term “spirit” to the materialized eidola of
your “form-manifestations,” is grossly improper, and something ought to be done to
change the practice, since scholars have begun to discuss the subject. At best, when
not what the Greeks termed phantasma, they are but phasma, or apparitions.
In scholars, speculators, and especially in our modern savants, the psychical
principle is more or less pervaded by the corporeal, and “the things of the spirit are
foolishness and impossible to be known” (1 Cor., ii, 14).
Page 294
Plato was then right, in his way, in despising land-measuring, geometry, and
arithmetic, for all these overlooked all high ideas. Plutarch taught that at death
Proserpine separated the body and the soul entirely, after which the latter became a
free and independent demon (daïmon). Afterward, the good underwent a second
dissolution: Demeter divided the psychê from the nous or pneuma. The former was
dissolved after a time into ethereal particles hence the inevitable dissolution and
subsequent annihilation of the man who at death is purely psychical; the latter, the
nous, ascended to its higher Divine power and became gradually a pure, Divine spirit.
Kapila, in common with all Eastern philosophers, despised the purely psychical
nature. It is this agglomeration of the grosser particles of the soul, the mesmeric
exhalations of human nature imbued with all its terrestrial desires and propensities, its
vices, imperfections, and weakness, forming the astral body—which can become
objective under certain circumstances which the Buddhists call skandhas (the
groups), and Colonel Olcott has for convenience termed the “soul.” The Buddhists
and Brahmanists teach that the man’s individuality is not secured until he has passed
through and become disembarrassed of the last of these groups, the final vestige of
earthly taint. Hence their doctrine of the metempsychosis, so ridiculed and so utterly
misunderstood by our greatest Orientalists. Even the physicists teach us that the
particles composing physical man are, by evolution, reworked by nature into every
variety of inferior physical form. Why, then, are the Buddhists unphilosophical or
even unscientific, in affirming that the semi-material skandhas of the astral man (his
very ego, up to the point of final purification) are appropriated to the evolution of
minor astral forms (which, of course, enter into the purely physical bodies of animals)
as fast as he throws them off in his progress toward Nirvâna? Therefore, we may
correctly say, that so long as the disembodied man is throwing off a single particle of
these skandhas, a portion of him is being reincarnated in the bodies of plants and
Page 295
And if he, the disembodied astral man, be so material that “Demeter” cannot find
even one spark of the pneuma to carry up to the “divine power,” then the individual,
so to speak, is dissolved, piece by piece, into the crucible of evolution, or, as the
Hindus allegorically illustrate it, he passes thousands of years in the bodies of impure
animals. Here we see how completely the ancient Greek and Hindu philosophers, the
modern Oriental schools, and the Theosophists, are ranged on one side, in perfect
accord; and the bright array of “inspirational mediums” and “spirit guides” stand in
perfect discord on the other. Though no two of the latter, unfortunately, agree as to
what is and what is not truth, yet they do agree with unanimity to antagonize
whatever of the teachings of the philosophers we may repeat!
Let it not be inferred, though, from all this, that I, or any other real Theosophist,
undervalue true Spiritual phenomena or philosophy, or that we do not believe in the
communication between pure mortals and pure spirits, any less than we do in
communication between bad men and bad spirits, or even of good men with bad
spirits under bad conditions. Occultism is the essence of Spiritualism, while modern
or popular Spiritualism I cannot better characterize than as adulterated, unconscious
magic. We go so far as to say that all the great and noble characters, all the grand
geniuses—the poets, painters, sculptors, musicians—all who have worked at any time
for the realization of their highest ideal, irrespective of selfish ends—have been
Spiritually inspired; not mediums, as many Spiritualists call them—passive tools in
the hands of controlling guides—but incarnate, illuminated souls, working
consciously in collaboration with the pure disembodied human and newly-embodied
high Planetary Spirits, for the elevation and spiritualization of mankind. We believe
that everything in material life is most intimately associated with Spiritual agencies.
As regards psychical phenomena and mediumship, we believe that it is only when the
passive medium has given place, or rather grown into, the conscious mediator, that he
can discern between spirits good and bad.
Page 296
And we do believe, and know also, that while the incarnate man (though the highest
adept) cannot vie in potency with the pure disembodied spirits, who, freed of all their
skandhas, have become subjective to the physical senses, yet he can perfectly equal,
and can far surpass in the way of phenomena, mental or physical, the average “spirit”
of modern mediumship. Believing this, you will perceive that we are better
Spiritualists, in the true acceptation of the word, than so-called Spiritualists, who,
instead of showing the reverence we do to true spirits—gods—debase the name of
spirit, by applying it to the impure, or, at best, imperfect beings who produce the
majority of the phenomena.
The two objections urged by Mr. Croucher against the claim of the
Theosophists, that a child is but a duality at birth, “and perhaps until the sixth or
seventh year,” and that some depraved persons are annihilated at some time after
death, are (1) that mediums have described to him his three children, “who passed
away at the respective ages of two, four, and six years”; and (2) that he has known
persons who were “very depraved” on earth come back. He says:
These statements have been afterwards confirmed by glorious beings who come
after, and who have proved by their mastery of the laws which are governing the
universe, that they are worthy of being believed.
I am really happy to learn that Mr. Croucher is competent to sit in judgment
upon these “glorious beings,” and give them the palm over Kapila, Manu, Plato, and
even Paul. It is worth something, after all, to be an “inspirational medium.” We have
no such “glorious beings” in the Theosophical Society to learn from; but it is evident
that while Mr. Croucher sees and judges things through his emotional nature, the
philosophers whom we study took nothing from any glorious being that did not
perfectly accord with the universal harmony, justice, and equilibrium of the manifest
plan of the universe. The Hermetic axiom, “as below, so above,” is the only rule of
evidence accepted by the Theosophists. Believing in a spiritual and invisible
universe, we cannot conceive of it in any other way than as completely dovetailing
and corresponding with the material, objective universe; for logic and observation
alike teach us that the latter is the outcome and visible manifestation of the former,
and that the laws governing both are immutable.
Page 297
In his letter of December 7th, Colonel Olcott very appropriately illustrates his subject
of potential immortality by citing the admitted physical law of the survival of the
fittest. The rule applies to the greatest as to the smallest things—to the planet equally
with the plant. It applies to man. And the imperfectly developed man-child can no
more exist under the conditions prepared for the perfected types of its species, than
can an imperfect plant or animal. In infantile life, the higher faculties are not
developed, but, as everyone knows, are only in the germ, or rudimentary. The babe is
an animal, however “angelic” he may, and naturally enough, ought to appear to his
parents. Be it ever so beautifully molded, the infant body is but the jewel-casket
preparing for the jewel. It is bestial, selfish, and, as a babe, nothing more. Little of
even the soul, Psychê, can be perceived except as vitality is concerned; hunger, terror,
pain, and pleasure appear to be the principal of its conceptions. A kitten is its superior
in everything but possibilities. The grey neurine of the brain is equally unformed.
After a time mental qualities begin to appear, but they relate chiefly to external
matters. The cultivation of the mind of the child by teachers can only affect this part
of the nature—what Paul calls natural or psychical, and James and Jude sensual or
psychical. Hence the words of Jude [verse 19], “psychical, having not the spirit,” and
of Paul:
The psychical man receiveth not the things of the spirit, for to him they are
foolishness; the spiritual man discerneth [1 Cor., ii, 14].
It is only the man of full age, with his faculties disciplined to discern good and
evil, whom we can denominate spiritual, noetic, intuitive. Children developed in such
respects would be precocious, abnormal—abortives.
Why, then, should a child who has never lived other than an animal life; who
never discerned right from wrong; who never cared whether he lived or died—since
he could not understand either of life or death—become individually immortal?
Page 298
Man’s cycle is not complete until he has passed through the earthlife. No one
stage of probation and experience can be skipped over. He must be a man before he
can become a spirit. A dead child is a failure of nature—he must live again; and the
same psychê re-enters the physical plane through another birth. Such cases, together
with those of congenital idiots, are, as stated in Isis Unveiled,* the only instances of
human reincarnation. If every child-duality were to be immortal, why deny a like
individual immortality to the duality of the animal? Those who believe in the trinity
of man know the babe to be but a duality—body and soul; and the individuality
which resides only in the psychical is, as we have seen proved by the philosophers,
perishable. The completed trinity only survives. Trinity, I say, for at death the astral
form becomes the outward body, and inside a still finer one evolves, which takes the
place of the psychê on earth, and the whole is more or less overshadowed by the
nous. Space prevented Colonel Olcott from developing the doctrine more fully, or he
would have added that not even all of the elementaries (human) are annihilated. There
is still a chance for some. By a supreme struggle these may retain their third and
higher principle, and so, though slowly and painfully, yet ascend sphere after sphere,
casting off at each transition the previous heavier garment, and clothing themselves in
more radiant spiritual envelopes, until, rid of every finite particle, the trinity merges
into the final Nirvana, and becomes a unity—a God.
A volume would scarce suffice to enumerate all the varieties of elementaries
and elementals; the former being so called by some Kabalists (Henry Khunrath, for
instance) to indicate their entanglement in the terrestrial elements which hold them
captive, and the latter designated by that name to avoid confusion, and equally
applying to those which go to form the astral body of the infant, and to the stationary
nature-spirits proper.
* [Vol. I, p. 351.]
Page 299
Éliphas Lévi, however, indifferently calls them all “Elementary,” and “souls.” I
repeat again, it is but the wholly psychical, disembodied astral man, which ultimately
disappears as an individual entity. As to the component parts of his psychê. they are
as indestructible as the atoms of any other body composed of matter.
That man must indeed be a true animal who has not after death, a spark of the
divine ruach or nous left in him to allow him a chance of self-salvation. Yet there are
such lamentable exceptions; not alone among the depraved, but also among those
who, during life, by stifling every idea of an after-existence, have killed in themselves
the last desire to achieve immortality. It is the will of man, his all-potent will, that
weaves his destiny, and if a man is determined in the notion that death means
annihilation, he will find it so. It is among our commonest experiences that the
determination of physical life or death depends upon the will. Some people snatch
themselves by force of determination from the very jaws of death; while others
succumb to insignificant maladies. What man does with his body he can do with his
disembodied psychê.
Nothing in this militates against the images of Mr. Croucher’s children being
seen in the Astral Light by the medium, either as actually left by the children
themselves, or as imagined by the father to look when grown. The impression in the
latter case would be but a phasma, while in the former it is a phantasma, or the
apparition of the indestructible impress of what once really was.
In days of old the “mediators” of humanity were men like Krishna, Gautama
Buddha, Jesus, Paul, Apollonius of Tyana, Plotinus, Porphyry, and the like of them.
They were adepts, philosophers—men who, by struggling their whole lives in purity,
study, and self-sacrifice, through trials, privations, and self-discipline, attained divine
illumination and seemingly superhuman powers. They could not only produce all the
phenomena seen in our times, but regarded it as a sacred duty to cast out “evil spirits”
or demons, from the unfortunate who were obsessed. In other words, to rid the
medium of their days of the “elementaries.”
Page 300
But in our time of improved psychology every hysterical sensitive blooms into a
seer, and behold! there are mediums by the thousand! Without any previous study,
self-denial, or the least limitation of their physical nature, they assume, in the
capacity of mouthpieces of unidentified and unidentifiable intelligences, to outrival
Socrates in wisdom, Paul in eloquence, and Tertullian himself in fiery and
authoritative dogmatism. The Theosophists are the last to assume infallibility for
themselves, or recognize it in others; as they judge others, so they are willing to be
In the name, then, of logic and common sense, before bandying epithets, let us
submit our differences to the arbitrament of reason. Let us compare all things, and,
putting aside emotionalism and prejudice as unworthy of the logician and the
experimentalist, hold fast only to that which passes the ordeal of ultimate analysis.
New York, January 14th, 1878.
[In connection with the above article, a sentence from a letter of Master K. H.
written to A. P. Sinnett in the Fall of 1882, may be of interest (The Mahatma Letters,
etc., p. 289):
“It was H.P.B. who, acting under the orders of Atrya (one whom you do not
know) was the first to explain in the Spiritualist the difference there was between
psychê and nous, nefesh and ruach—Soul and Spirit. She had to bring the whole
arsenal of proofs with her, quotations from Paul and Plato, from Plutarch and James,
etc. before the Spiritualists admitted that the theosophists were right . . .”
Page 301
[The Spiritualist, London, February 8th, 1878, pp. 62-63] *
Times have greatly changed since the winter of 1875-6, when the establishment
of the Theosophical Society caused the grand army of American Spiritualists to wave
banners, clang steel, and set up a great shouting. How well we all remember the
putting forth of “Danger Signals,” the oracular warnings and denunciations of
numberless mediums! How fresh in memory the threats of ‘‘angel-friends’’ to Dr.
Gardiner, of Boston, that they would kill Colonel Olcott if he dared call them
“Elementaries” in the lectures he was about delivering!† The worst of the storm has
passed. The hail of imprecations no longer batters around our devoted heads; it is but
raining now, and we can almost see the rainbow of promised peace spanning the sky.
Beyond doubt, much of this subsidence of the disturbed elements is clue to our
armed neutrality. But still, I judge that the gradual spread of a desire to learn
something more as to the cause of the phenomena must be taken into account. And
yet the time has not quite come when the lion (Spiritualism) and the lamb
(Theosophy are ready to lie down together—unless the lamb is willing to lie inside
the lion. While we held our tongues we were asked to speak, and when we spoke—or
rather our President spoke—the hue and cry was raised once more. Though the
popgun fusillade and the dropping shots of musketry have mostly ceased, the defiles
of your Spiritual Balkans are defended by your heaviest Krupp guns. If the fire were
directed only against Colonel Olcott there would be no occasion for me to bring up
the reserves. But fragments from both of the bombs which your able gunner and our
mutual friend, “M. A. (Oxon.),” has exploded, in his two letters of January 4th and
11th, have given me contusions—under the velvet paw of his rhetoric I have felt the
scratch of challenge!
* [Square brackets in this article are H.P.B.’s own.—Compiler.]
† [See p. 72 in the present Volume.]
Page 302
At the very beginning of what must be a long struggle, it is imperatively
demanded that the Theosophical position shall be unequivocally defined. In the last
of the above two communications, it is stated that Colonel Olcott transmits “the
teaching of the learned author of Isis Unveiled, the master key to all problems [?].”
Who has ever claimed that the book was that, or anything like it? Not the author,
certainly. The title? A misnomer for which the publisher is unpremeditatedly
responsible; and, if I am not mistaken, “M. A. (Oxon.)” knows it. My title was the
Veil of Isis, and that headline runs through the entire first volume. Not until that
volume was stereotyped did any one recollect that a book of the same name was
before the public. Then, as a dernière ressource, the publisher selected the present
“If he [Olcott] be not the rose, at any rate he has lived near it,” says your learned
correspondent. Had I seen this sentence apart from the context, I would never have
imagined that the unattractive old party, superficially known as H. P. Blavatsky, was
designated under this poetical Persian simile. If he had compared me to a bramblebush,
I might have complimented him upon his artistic realism. “Colonel Olcott,” he
says, “of himself would command attention; he commands it still more on account of
the store of knowledge to which he has had access.” True, he has had such access, but
by no means is it confined to my humble self. Though I may have taught him a few of
the things that I had learned in other countries (and corroborated the theory in every
case by practical illustration), yet a far abler teacher than I could not in three brief
years have given him more than the alphabet of what there is to learn before a man
can become wise in spiritual and psycho-physiological things. The very limitations of
modern languages prevent any rapid communication of ideas about Eastern
philosophy. I defy the great Max Müller himself to translate Kapila’s Sûtras so as to
give their real meaning. We have seen what the best European authorities can do with
the Hindu metaphysics and what a mess they have made of it, to be sure! The Colonel
corresponds directly with Hindu scholars, and has from them a good deal more than
he can get from so clumsy a preceptor as myself.
Our friend, “M. A. (Oxon.),” says that Colonel Olcott “comes forward to
enlighten us”—than which scarce anything could be more inaccurate. He neither
comes forward nor pretends to enlighten anyone. The public wanted to know the
views of the Theosophists, and our president attempted to give, as succinctly as
possible in the limits of a single article, some little glimpse of so much of the truth as
he had learned. That the result would not be wholly satisfactory was inevitable.
Page 303
Volumes would not suffice to answer all the questions naturally presenting
themselves to an enquiring mind; a library of quartos would barely obliterate the
prejudices of those who ride at the anchor of centuries of metaphysical and
theological misconceptions perhaps even errors. But, though our president is not
guilty of the conceit of pretending to “enlighten” Spiritualists, I think he has certainly
thrown out some hints worthy of the thoughtful consideration of the unprejudiced.
I am sorry that “M. A. (Oxon.)” is not content with mere suggestions. Nothing
but the whole naked truth will satisfy him. We must “square” our theories with his
facts, we must lay our theory down “on exact lines of demonstration.” We are asked,
“Where are the seers? What are their records? and (far more important ), how do they
verify them to us?” I answer, the seers are where “Schools of the Prophets” are still
extant, and they have their records with them. Though Spiritualists are not able to go
in search of them, yet the philosophy they teach commends itself to logic, and its
principles are mathematically demonstrable. If this be not so, let it be shown.
But, in their turn, Theosophists may ask, and do ask, where are the proofs that
the medial phenomena are exclusively attributable to the agency of departed
“spirits”? Who are the “seers” among mediums blessed with an infallible lucidity?
What “tests” are given that admit of no alternative explanation?
Though Swedenborg was one of the greatest of seers, and churches are erected
in his name, yet except to his adherents what proof is there that the “spirits” objective
to his vision—including Paul—promenading in hats, were anything but the creatures
of his imagination? Are the spiritual potentialities of the living man so well
comprehended that mediums can tell when their own agency ceases, and that of
outside influences begins? No, but for all answer to our suggestions that the subject is
opened to debate, “M. A. (Oxon.)” shudderingly charges us with attempting to upset
what he designates as “a cardinal dogma of our faith”—i.e., the faith of the
Dogma? Faith? These are the right and left pillars of every soul-crushing
theology. Theosophists have no dogmas, exact no blind faith. Theosophists are ever
ready to abandon every idea that is proved erroneous upon strictly logical deductions;
let Spiritualists do the same. Dogmas are the toys that amuse and can satisfy but
unreasoning children. They are the offspring of human speculation and prejudiced
fancy. In the eye of true philosophy it seems an insult to common sense that we
should break loose from the idols and dogmas of either Christian or heathen exoteric
faith to catch those of a church of ,Spiritualism. Spiritualism must either be a true
philosophy, amenable to the tests of the recognized criterion of logic, or be set up in
its niche beside the broken idols of hundreds of antecedent Christian sects.
Page 304
Realizing as they do the boundlessness of the absolute truth, Theosophists repudiate
all claims to infallibility. The most cherished preconceptions, the most “pious hope,”
the strongest “master passion,” they sweep aside like dust from their path, when their
error is pointed out. Their highest hope is to approximate the truth; that they have
succeeded in going a few steps beyond the Spiritualists, they think proved in their
conviction that they know nothing in comparison with what is to be learned; in their
sacrifice of every pet theory and prompting of emotionalism at the shrine of Fact; and
in their absolute and unqualified repudiation of everything that smacks of “dogma.”
The portrait shows him in the days of his military service. It is preserved in the Adyar Archives.
(Consult the Bio-Bibliographical Index, for a comprehensive biographical outline.)
(Reproduced from H.P.B. Speaks, Vol. II, published by The Theosophical Publishing
House, Adyar, Madras, India, 1951.)
Page 305
With great rhetorical elaboration “M. A. (Oxon.)” paints the result of the
supersedure of Spiritualistic by Theosophic ideas. In brief, he shows Spiritualism a
lifeless corpse—“a body from which the soul has been wrenched, and for which most
men will care nothing.” We submit that the reverse is true. Spiritualists wrench the
soul from true Spiritualism by their degradation of spirit. Of the infinite they make
the finite; of the divine subjective they make the human and limited objective. Are
Theosophists materialists? Do not their hearts warm with the same “pure and holy
love” for their “loved ones” as those of Spiritualists? Have not many of us sought
long years “through the gate of mediumship to have access to the world of spirit”—
and vainly sought? The comfort and assurance modern Spiritualism could not give us
we found in Theosophy. As a result we believe far more firmly than many
Spiritualists for our belief is based on knowledge—in the communion of our beloved
ones with us; but not as materialized spirits with beating hearts and sweating brows.
Holding such views as we do as to logic and fact, you perceive that when a
Spiritualist pronounces to us the words dogma and facts, debate is impossible, for
there is no common ground upon which we can meet. We decline to break our heads
against shadows. If fact and logic were given the consideration they should have,
there would be no more temples in this world for exoteric worship, whether Christian
or heathen, and the method of the Theosophists would be welcomed as the only one
insuring action and progress—a progress that cannot be arrested, since each advance
shows yet greater advances to be made.
As to our producing our “Seers” and “their records”—one word. In The
Spiritualist of January 11th, I find Dr. Peebles saying that in due time he “will publish
such facts about the Dravida Brâhmans as I am [he is] permitted. I say permitted
because some of these occurred under the promise and seal of secrecy.” If ever the
casual wayfarer is put under an obligation of secrecy, before he is shown some of the
less important psycho-physiological phenomena, is it not barely possible that the
Brotherhood to which some Theosophists belong, has also doctrines, records, and
phenomena, that cannot be revealed to the profane and the indifferent, without any
imputation lying against their reality and authoritativeness? This, at least, I believe,
“M. A. (Oxon.)” knows.
Page 306
As we do not offensively obtrude ourselves upon an unwilling public, but only
answer under compulsion, we can hardly be denounced as contumacious if we
produce to a promiscuous public, neither our “Seers” nor “their records.” When
Mahomet is ready to go to the mountain it will be found standing in its place.
And that no one that makes this search may suppose that we Theosophists send
him to a place where there are no pitfalls for the unwary, I quote from the famous
Commentary on the Bhagavad-Gîtâ of our brother Hurrychund Chintamon, the
unqualified admission that “In Hindostan, as in England, there are doctrines for the
learned and dogmas for the unlearned; strong meat for men, and milk for babes; facts
for the few, and fictions for the many; realities for the wise, and romances for the
simple; esoteric truth for the philosopher, and exoteric fable for the fool.” Like the
philosophy taught by this author in the work in question, the object of the
Theosophical Society “is the cleansing of Spiritual truth.”
New York, January 20th, 1877.*
[Page 176 of H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. IV, is occupied with various cuttings
dealing with the Masonic Diploma granted to H.P.B. The Providence Journal
announces on Feb. 4, 1878, that the Franklin Register will have a discussion of the
genuineness of being a Freemason. To this H.P.B. remarks in pen and ink:]
From the Providence Daily Journal, the best daily paper in New England. Its
editor is Senator Anthony. U. S. Senator.
* [An obvious error for 1878.—Compiler.]
Page 307
[Franklin Register, Franklin, Mass., February 8, 1878] *
EDITORIAL.—We are gratified to be able to present to the readers of the
Register this week, the following highly-characteristic letter, prepared expressly for
our Paper by Madame M. P. Blavatsky, the authoress of Isis Unveiled. In this letter
the lady defends the validity of her diploma as a Mason reference to which was had
in our issue of January 18th. The immediate cause of the letter from Madame B. was
the multiplication of attacks upon her claim to that distinguished honour both before
and since the publication mentioned.
The field is open for a rejoinder; and we trust that a champion will appear, to
defend that which she so vigorously and bravely assails.
That the subject-matter in controversy may be seen at a glance by those who
may not be regular readers of our paper, we again print the text of her diploma.
[See the Facsimile appended herewith]
To the Editor of The Franklin Register.
Dear Sir,
I am obliged to correct certain errors in your highly complimentary editorial in
The Register of January 18th. You say that I have taken “the regular degrees in
Masonic Lodges” and attained high dignity in the order, and further add: “Upon
Madame B. has recently been conferred the diploma of the thirty-third Masonic
Degree, from the oldest Masonic body in the world.”
If you will kindly refer to my Isis Unveiled (Vol. II, p. 394), you will find me
saying: “We are under neither promise, obligation, nor oath, and therefore violate no
confidence”—reference being made to Western Masonry, to the criticism of which
the chapter is devoted; and full assurance is given that I have never taken “the regular
degrees” in any Western Masonic Lodge.
* [The full name of this paper was Franklin Register and Norfolk County Journal and as far as is
known, it was a weekly. Its Editor and Publisher in 1878 was James M. Stewart. Apart from a few
copies. no complete files of it have ever been located, and the text of H.P.B.’s article has been
copied from a cutting pasted by her in her Scrapbook, Vol. IV, pp. 174-75 (old numbering, Vol. II,
Page 308
Of course, therefore, having taken no such degree, I am not a thirty-third degree
Mason. In a private note, also in your most recent editorial, you state that you find
yourself taken to task by various Masons, among them one who has taken thirty-three
degrees—which include the “Ineffable”—for what you said about me. My Masonic
experience—if you will so term membership in several Eastern Masonic Fraternities
and Esoteric Brotherhoods—is confined to the Orient. But, nevertheless, this neither
prevents my knowing, in common with all Eastern “Masons,” everything connected
with Western Masonry (including the numberless humbugs that have been imposed
upon the Craft during the last half century) nor, since the receipt of the diploma from
the “Sovereign Grand Master,” of which you publish the text, my being entitled to
call myself a Mason. Claiming nothing, therefore, in Western Masonry but what is
expressed in the above diploma, you will perceive that your Masonic mentors must
transfer their quarrel to John Yarker, jun., P.M., P.Mk.M., P.Z., P.G.C. and M.W.S—
K.T. and R.C., K.T.P., K.H., and K.A.R.S., P.M.W., P.S.G.C., and P.S.Dai., A. and P.
Rite, to the man, in short, who is recognized in England and Wales and the whole
world, as a member of the Masonic Archaeological Institute; as Honorary Fellow of
the London Literary Union; of Lodge No. 227, Dublin; of the Bristol College of
Rosicrucians; who is Past Grand Maréchal of the Temple; Member of the Royal
Grand Council of Ancient Rites—time immemorial; Keeper of the Ancient Royal
Secrets; Grand Commander of Mizraim, Ark Mariners, Red Cross of Constantine,
Babylon, and Palestine; R. Grand Superintendent for Lancashire; Sovereign Grand
Conservator of the Ancient and Primitive Rite of Masonry, thirty-third and last
degree, etc., from whom the Patent issued.
Your “Ineffable” friend must have cultivated his spiritual perceptions to small
purpose in the investigation and contemplation of the “Ineffable Name,” from the
fourth to the fourteenth degrees of that gilded humbug, the A. and A. Rite, if he could
say that there is “no authority for a derivation through the charter of the Sovereign
Sanctuary of America, to issue this patent.”
Page 309
He lives in a veritable Crystal Palace of Masonic glass, and must look out for
falling stones. Brother Yarker says, in his Notes on the Scientific and Religious
Mysteries of Antiquity (p. 149), that the “Grand Orient, derived from the Craft Grand
Lodge of England, in 1725, and latterly, works and recognizes the following Rites,
appointing representatives with Chapters in America and elsewhere: 1. French Rite.
2. Rite of Heredom. 3. A. and A. Rite. 4. Rite of Kilwinning. 5. Philosophical Rite. 6.
Rite du Régime rectif. 7. Rite of Memphis. 8. Rite of Mizraim. All under a Grand
College of Rites.”
The A. and P. Rite was originally chartered in America, November 9th, 1856,
with David McClellan as G. M. [see Kenneth Mackenzie’s The Royal Masonic
Cyclopaedia, p. 43], and in 1862 submitted entirely to the Grand Orient of France. In
1862 the Grand Orient vised and sealed the American Patent of Seymour as G.M.,
and mutual representatives were appointed, down to 1866, when the relations of the
G.O. with America were ruptured, and the American Sovereign Sanctuary took up its
position, “in the bosom” of the Ancient Cerneau Council of the “Scottish Rite” of 33
degrees, as John Yarker says, in the above quoted work. In 1872 a Sovereign
Sanctuary of the Rite was established in England, by the American Grand Body, with
John Yarker as Grand Master. Down to the present time the legality of Seymour’s
Sanctuary has never been disputed by the Grand Orient of France, and reference to it
is found in Marconis de Nègres books.
It sounds very grand, no doubt, to be a thirty-second degreeist, and an
“Ineffable” one into the bargain; but read what Robert B. Folger, M. D., Past Master
thirty-third, says himself in his The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, in Thirty-
Three Degrees: “In reference to the other degrees, five or six in number, which are
additional, those (with the exception of the Thirty-third, which was manufactured at
Charleston) were all in the possession of the Grand Orient before, but were termed,
like a great many others, ‘obsolete’.”
Page 310
And further, he asks: “Who were the persons who formed this Supreme Council
of the Thirty-third degree? And where did they get that degree, or the power to confer
it? . . . Their Patents have never been produced nor has any evidence ever yet been
given, that they came in possession of the Thirty-third degree in a regular and lawful
manner” (pp. 92, 95, 96).
That an American Rite, thus spuriously organized, declines to acknowledge the
Patent of an English Sovereign Sanctuary, duly recognized by the Grand Orient of
France, does not at all invalidate my claim to Masonic honours. As well might
Protestants refuse to call the Dominicans Christians, because they—the Protestants—
broke away from the Catholic Church and set up for themselves, as for A. and A.
Masons of America to deny the validity of a Patent from an English A. and P. Rite
body. Though I have nothing to do with American modern Masonry, and do not
expect to have, yet, feeling highly honoured by the distinction conferred upon me by
Brother Yarker, I mean to stand for my chartered rights, and to recognize no other
authority than that of the high Masons of England, who have pleased to send me this
unsolicited and unexpected testimonial of their approval of my humble labours.
Of a piece with the above is the ignorant rudeness of certain critics who
pronounce Cagliostro an “impostor” and his desire of engrafting Eastern Philosophy
upon Western Masonry “charlatanism.” Without such a union Western Masonry is a
corpse without a soul. As Yarker observes, in his Notes on the Scientific and
Religious Mysteries of Antiquity [p. 157]:
“. . . As the Masonic fraternity is now governed, the Craft is fast becoming the
paradise of the bon vivant . . . the manufacturer of paltry masonic tinsel . . . and the
masonic ‘Emperor’ and other charlatans who make power or money out of the
aristocratic pretensions which they have tacked on to our institutions—ad captandum
vulgus . . .”
Page 311
[The above article from the pen of H.P.B. was preceded by articles written by
others in the January 18 and February 1 issues of The Franklin Register.
Unfortunately, they have not been preserved, and so cannot be consulted.
The circumstances under which H.P.B. received her Masonic Patent are
described as follows by John Yarker who issued it:
“In the year 1872 I printed, at my own cost, a small book entitled, Notes on the
Scientific and Religious Mysteries of Antiquity; the Gnosis and Secret Schools of the
Middle Ages; Modern Rosicrucianism; and the various Rites and Degrees of Free and
Accepted Masonry. At this time, I was Grand Master of the Ancient and Primitive
Rite of Memphis, 95°; and before that of the combined Scottish Rite of 33°, and
Mizraim of 90°; and among our initiates, 32°-94°, was Brother Charles Sotheran who
left England and settled at New York. This brother lent a copy of the book just named
to Madame Blavatsky, and she was good enough to refer to it in her Isis Unveiled,
with some complimentary remarks . . .
“However, at the request of Bro. Sotheran I sent Madame Blavatsky the
certificate of the female branch of the Sat Bhai (Seven Brothers, or seven birds of a
species, which always fly by sevens); it was a system organized at Benares in India
by the Pundit of the 43rd Rifles, and brought to England by Major J. H. Lawrence-
Archer, 32°-94°. This led to a letter from Col. H. S. Olcott, setting forth the very
superior qualities of Madame to the certificate sent, and vouching that she was
proficient in all masonic sciences. On the 20th of August, 1877, the, then newly
established Theosophical Society of New York sent me by the hands of Col. Cobb a
certificate of Honorary membership accompanied by a pretty gold Jewel of the Crux
Ansata of Egypt entwined with a serpent in green enamel.
“Both the Rites of Memphis and Mizraim as well as the Grand Orient of France
possessed a branch of Adoptive Masonry, popular in France in the eighteenth and
nineteenth centuries, and of which, in later years, the Duchess of Bourbon held the
rank of Grand Mistress. We accordingly sent H.P.B. on the 24th of November, 1877, a
certificate of the highest rank, that of a Crowned Princess 12°, said to have been
instituted at Saxe, in the last quarter of the eighteenth century.
Page 312
The publication of this certificate led to newspaper questions and attack. The
Franklin Register of 1st of February, 1878, contained an article by Bro. Leon
Hynemann vouching for the reality of my signature, and another by Bro. Charles
Sotheran who vouched for the possession by H.P.B. of Masonic initiation, and this
was followed the next week (8th of February) by a slashing article from the pen of
Madame herself against her calumniators. . . .”*
The facsimile of the Diploma shows it to be the standard ornate form of the
Ancient and Primitive Rite, the name and degrees being filled in pen and ink. The
Diploma states, however, that the degrees and titles conferred upon H.P.B. are those
of the Rite of Adoption. The various Rites of Adoption were not recognized as being
Masonry by the Masonic bodies of France, Great Britain, and America. Guillemain de
Saint-Victor, French Masonic writer, author of Handbook of the Women Freemasons
or the True Freemasonry of Adoption, is quoted in Mackey’s Encyclopaedia of
Freemasonry as follows:
“It is a virtuous amusement by which we recall a part of the mysteries of our
religion; and the better to reconcile humanity with the knowledge of its Creator, after
we have inculcated the duties of virtue, we deliver ourselves up to the sentiments of a
pure and delightful friendship by enjoying in our Lodges the pleasure of society—
pleasure which among us is always founded on reason, honor, and innocence.”
A full discussion of Adoptive Masonry and the other Rites mentioned in the
article may be found in the Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry by Albert G. Mackey, ed.
by Robert I. Clegg. Chicago: The Masonic History Co., 1929.—Compiler.]
* Universal Masonry, Vol. 1, No. 4, October, 1910.
Page 313
[As far as could be ascertained, as a result of long and far-reaching search, the
first of a series of Letters written by H.P.B. in her native Russian language was
published in the Odessa newspaper Pravda (Truth), No. 45, February 23 (March 7),
1803. It was entitled: “From Across the Sea, from Beyond the Blue Ocean.” As
appears, however, from H.P.B.’s own entry in Col. H. S. Olcott’s Diary on February
7, 1878, she must have written at least four other articles or Letters to the Editor, as
she states that four of them had been definitely lost, according to word received by
her from Madame N. A. de Fadeyev. Thus, it is most likely that her Russian literary
contributions were started sometime in the later part of 1877. Early in 1878, she also
began to write for the Tiflisskiy Vestnik (Tiflis Messenger). There is evidence to
show that H.P.B. contributed some of her remuneration to the cause of the Russian
soldiers wounded in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78, and that she also
relinquished some of it to the benefit of her sister Vera Petrovna who must have been
in need at the time.
All of H.P.B.’s Russian writings in English translation may be found in a
separate volume of the present Series.—Compiler.]
* [In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. IV, p. 243, there is pasted a cutting from The Spiritualist of March 8,
1878.1tis a very biased and hostile criticism from a lady Spiritualist entitled “Mrs. Showers on Isis
Unveiled.” Above the title H.P.B. wrote in ink:]
This is the abuse I receive for defending the philosophy of India and the East in Isis.
Page 314
[Banner of Light, Boston, Vol. XLII, March 9, 1878, p. 4]
To the Editor of the Banner of Light:
I have just received from the Hon. Alexander Aksakoff, of St. Petersburg, a letter
dated February 7th, the substance of which he desires me to make known to the
readers of the Banner of Light. This generous and brave gentleman begins with a cry
of triumph: “I hasten to send you,” he says, “most welcome, most consoling news!
That unfortunate medium (Slade), our martyr, has finally received a full verdict of
acquittal at the University of Leipzig. Three professors have had a whole series of
most remarkable séances with him. Their experiments and investigations were
crowned with striking success!”
It appears that Professor Zöllner, the great “astrophysicist”—as he is called in
Germany—after numerous experiments to test his theory about what he calls “the
fourth dimension of space” (whatever he may mean by that—I have not read his
book), came to the conclusion that some of the mediumistic phenomena are possible.
As I understand it, he assigns certain beings to each of four divisions of space, and
holds that, “such beings, to whom the fourth division is accessible, could, for
instance, make knots in an endless rope by a certain natural process and without a
break of the continuity.” Mr. Aksakoff says that these conclusions were published by
Zöllner in August, 1877. Considering his high scientific rank, Spiritualists and
Theosophists ought to feel thankful for even such small favors: the former, because
he admits the possibility of any phenomena; the latter because his Vierdimmensionale
Wesen—literally translated, “four-dimensional beings”—bear a very strong family
resemblance to the now famous Elementaries and Elementals of the Theosophical
Page 315
What the Professor inferred upon theory in August last, he saw demonstrated in
practice on the 17th of December. On a simple rope which he brought to the séance,
and the ends of which were tied together and sealed by him, four knots were tied in a
few minutes by “beings of some kind, while he, Zöllner, held the rope in his own
hand.” “Thus a fact a priori,” says Mr. Aksakoff, “which rested on a previously
unsupported hypothesis, was practically proved and demonstrated. It is useless for me
to enter into lengthy arguments,” he adds, “as to the enormous benefit which these
Leipzig experiments will assuredly confer upon Spiritualism: it is the first purely
scientific hypothesis for the explanation of some of its phenomena, and it will
undoubtedly fling wide open for them the portals of science.”
This experiment is fully described, with engraved illustrations, in a volume just
issued by Professor Zöllner, Wissenschaftliche Abhandlungen, I, Leipzig, 1878. He
had subsequently extremely interesting experiments, which doubtless will be fully
illustrated in a second volume. Mr. Aksakoff says that “all this was kept a profound
secret from the public, until the appearance of the book . . . but I knew of the success
of the experiment some time ago.” The obligation of secrecy, under which our friend
Mr. Simmons, as well as Dr. Slade himself, was placed, is now made plain.
Although Slade had been in St. Petersburg but a few days, lengthy reports of his
wonderful phenomena had appeared in two of the most skeptical of the daily papers
—the Novoye Vremya of January 17th, and the St. Petersburg News of January 20th.
Both writers declined to attribute the phenomena they had seen to jugglery. We do not
believe in spirits, they say, but we feel incompetent to explain the manifestations,
therefore give them merely as facts, occurring in full daylight, at a table chosen at
random by ourselves, in the hotel where the Doctor lives, and as facts admitting of no
explanation upon any known hypothesis. One of the writers was lifted up
perpendicularly, chair and all, until his knees came in contact with the lower edge of
the table.
Page 316
Writing was produced under the hand of the investigator; ghostly hands were
felt while the hands of everyone were on the table; an old harmonicon, brought by
Mr. Aksakoff, was played upon—once without contact—and then, when Dr. Slade’s
hands and feet were in full view, it leaped on the knees of a skeptic, or rather was
gently laid upon them, with precautions against hurting him. One of the writers was
pinched, as he says, “very painfully.”
Of course the Doctor’s Owasso, Brédif’s Jacko, the China-woman spirit, and
even Katie King, all got a scratch from these editors. They do not like the
explanations given them; they would prefer not to hear such “made-up stories” as the
biography of Slade, as told by Mr. Simmons and himself—it appears “too artificial.”
And yet, both writers confess their amazement, and are at a loss what to think. We
may expect a lively time in St. Petersburg. The war between Russia and Turkey being
over, there loom up the portents of a great strife between the invisible “four
dimensional beings” and the skeptics who inhabit this muddy sphere of the lowest
The News reports an interesting episode of Slade’s experience at Berlin, which
is of quite a political and religious character. “Allie” and “Owasso” were the indirect
(or shall we say direct?) means of disturbing Prince Bismarck’s equanimity, and even
getting him into trouble. I will give the story as nearly in the language of the paper as
the necessity for condensation permits. In Berlin there are more “Spiritists than in St.
Petersburg, and no wonder, as the arrival of Slade, who is considered the greatest
medium after Home (?), stirred up the liveliest interest.” As usual, parties were
formed for and against Slade. The opponents of Spiritism felt indignant, and—again
as usual—began exposing him. Hermann, the well-known Berlin juggler, promised
through the press to show the public how it was all done.
Another Berlin juggler, Bellachini,* still more famous than Hermann, then
stepped in and began investigating, with the determination “to expose the fraud.” The
inquiry of the latter was quite protracted, after which he published in the daily papers,
over his own signature, the fact that the phenomena which take place in Slade’s
presence can by no means be included among the tricks of jugglery.
* [Samuel Bellachini, Court Conjurer to the Emperor of Germany.—Compiler.]
Page 317
The leader may well imagine the scandal which this confession created. Bellachini
was abused from every side, and charged with having been “fooled” by a Yankee,
who could not even speak German.
The fight raged fiercely, passions were excited, and finally the affair was
transplanted into the domain of politics. It must be known that the defenders of Dr.
Slade and Spiritualism had found hospitality in the columns of the clerical party,
while their opponents bombarded them from within the stronghold of the national
liberal press. Prince Bismarck, who was quietly resting at Varzin, and felt quite
innocent of having any leaning towards mediumism, was dragged into the fight and
had to pay the damages. The clerical party pestered the great Chancellor by reviving a
long forgotten story. Thus the matter assumed a political character, and was carried
into the Landtag. The clergy had profited by the appearance of the new and
incontestably genuine phenomena to claim recognition for their old miracle of the
appearance of the Virgin Mary in the Marringen Community. It appears that the
devout believers in this “miracle” had come in crowds to pray at the spot where the
apparition had been seen, and had been badly treated by the local police. The old
complaints were now revived. Minister Friedenthal, in the Landtag, defending the
police pronounced both the clerical “Miracle” and the mediumistic phenomena
dangerous frauds. The clericalist deputy Boehm demanded the punishment of the
police and damages for the insulted community. Windthorst, the well-known orator,
of the church party, claimed recognition for both miracle and phenomena, pointing
out that even such men as Schopenhauer, Fichte and others, did not deny their
possibility. The fight was lively for a time. Bismarck was annoyed and the public
scandalized by this clerical impudence which was provoked by Dr. Slade’s spirits.
All this led to Professor Virchow himself coming out with an offer to investigate
Slade’s phenomena.
Page 318
But the celebrated medium felt, most probably, if anything, still more annoyed to
play a part which, though political, was at best a thankless one. He refused pointblank,
remarking that he did not feel justified in trusting a scientist who belonged to
that party of progressionists which had so bitterly attacked him. Then it was that the
American medium was advised to leave Berlin.
And no wonder! A man who had encountered Science (?) in the persons of a
Lankester and his Donkin had good reasons for avoiding any more such intimacies.
And now he is reaping laurels in St. Petersburg. If Spiritualism should be the gainer
by his present demonstrations of his marvelous powers before Mr. Aksakoff’s
committee, its friends will at least have to put this fact to the credit of the
Theosophical Society as a counterpoise against the thousand-and-one sins that have
been laid at its door, that it knew how to select among American mediums the one
best of all fitted to convince the most hard-headed of European skeptics.
[W. Emmette Coleman rather violently attacked both H.P.B. and Col. Olcott, in
the pages of the Religio-Philosophical Journal of February 16, 1878, writing under
the title of “Sclavonic Theosophy Versus American Spiritualism.” Among other
things, he made the following statement:
“The turning point of Col. Olcott’s destiny occurred when he was at Chittenden.
Meeting there the masculine-feminine Sclavonic Theosoph from Crim-Tartary, the
erudite collaborator of Isis Unveiled (which work, as Youmans and other able critics
affirm, unveils nothing), he soon became a willing victim to her intense
psychological power, and from that day to this he has been the mouthpiece for her
utterances, the obsequious tool and slave of Her Occultic Highness.”
Page 319
At the end of the cutting pasted in her Scrapbook, Vol. IV, pp. 184-85, H.P.B.
wrote in pen and ink:]
This prominent “Spiritualist” is not content, as it seems, of being thought a good
natured though irascible ass.—Out he must show himself in print a LIAR and a
BLACKGUARD! Oh—unhappy Spiritualism!
[She also added in pencil:]
(See for my answer on page 133, The Knout)
[H.P.B.’s Answer, printed below, may be found pasted in her Scrapbook, Vol. IV,
p. 235.]
[Religio-Philosophical Journal, Chicago, Vol. XXIV, March 16, 1878, p. 8]
Mr. Editor:
I have read some of the assaults upon Colonel Olcott and myself, that have
appeared in the Journal. Some have amused me, others I have passed by unread; but I
was quite unprepared for the good fortune that lay in store for me in the embryo of
the paper of February 16th. The “Protest” of Mr. W. Emmette Coleman, entitled
“Sclavonic Theosophy versus American Spiritualism,” is the musky rose in an
odoriferous bouquet. Its pungent fragrance would give the nose-bleed to a sensitive
whose olfactories would withstand the perfume of a garden full of the Malayan
flower-queen—the tuberose; and yet, my tough, pug, Mongolian nose, which has
smelled carrion in all parts of the world, proved itself equal even to this emergency.
“From the sublime to the ridiculous,” says the French proverb, “there is but a
single step.” From sparkling wit to dull absurdity, there is no more. An attack, to be
effective, must have an antagonist to strike, for to kick against something that exists
only in one’s imagination, wrenches man or beast.
Page 320
Don Quixote fighting the “air-drawn” foes in his windmill, stands for ever the
laughingstock of all generations, and the type of a certain class of disputants, that, for
the moment, Mr. Coleman represents.
The pretext for two columns of abuse—suggesting, I am sorry to say, parallel
sewers—is that Miss Emily Kislingbury, in an address before the B.N.A. of
Spiritualists, mentioned Colonel Olcott’s name in connection with a leadership of
Spiritualism. I have the report of her remarks before me, and find that she neither
proposed Colonel Olcott to American Spiritualists as a leader, nor said that he had
wanted “leadership,” wanted it now, or could ever be persuaded to take it. “It is
seriously proposed,” says Mr. Coleman, “by our trans-atlantic sister, Miss
Kislingbury, that American Spiritualists should select as their guardian guide—Col.
H. S. Olcott!!” If anyone is entitled to this wealth of exclamation points it is Miss K.,
for the charge against her from beginning to end is simply an unmitigated falsehood.
Miss K. merely expressed the personal opinion that a certain gentleman for whom she
had a deserved friendship, would have been capable, at one time, of acting as a
leader. This was her private opinion, to which she had as good a right as either of her
defamers—who, in a cowardly way, try to use Colonel Olcott and myself as sticks to
break her head with—have to their opinions. It may or may not have been warranted
by the facts—that is immaterial. The main point is, that Miss K. has not said one
word that gives the slightest pretext for Mr. Coleman attacking her on this question of
leadership. And yet, I am not surprised at his course; for this brave, noble-hearted,
truthful and spotless lady occupies too impregnable a position to be assailed, except
by indirection. Some one had to pay for her plain speaking about American
Spiritualism. What better scapegoat than Olcott and Blavatsky, the twin “theosophical
What a hullabaloo is raised, to be sure, about Spiritualists declining to follow
our “leadership.” In my “Buddhistico-Tartaric” ignorance, I have always supposed
that some thing must be offered before it can either be indignantly spurned or even
respectfully declined.
H.P.B. ABOUT 1875-1876
(From Sir A. Conan Doyle’s History of Spiritualism, London, 1926.
Consult the Bio-Bibliographical Index for biographical sketch.)
Page 321
Have we offered to lead Spiritualists by the nose or other portions of their
anatomy? Have we ever proclaimed ourselves as “teachers,” or set ourselves up as
infallible “guides”? Let the hundreds of unanswered letters that we have received
from Spiritualists be our witness. Let us even include two letters from Mr. W.
Emmette Coleman, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, calling attention to his published
articles of January 13th, 20th, 27th, and February 3rd (four papers), inviting
controversy. He says, in his communication of January 23rd, 1877, to Colonel Olcott,
“I am in search of truth”—therefore he has not all the truth. He asks him to answer
certain “interrogatories”—therefore, our opinions are admitted to have some weight.
He says: “This address”—the one he wants us to read and express our opinion upon
—”was delivered some time since; if of more recent date, I [he] might modify
Now, Olcott’s People from the Other World was published January, 1875;* Mr.
Coleman’s letter to the Colonel was written in January, 1877; and his present
“protest” to the Journal appeared February, 1878. It puzzles me to know how a man
“in search of truth” could lower himself so far AS to hunt for it in the coat pockets of
an author whose work is “dearly demonstrative of the utterly unscientific character of
his researches, full of exaggerations, inaccuracies, marvelous statements recorded at
second hand without the slightest confirmation, lackadaisical sentimentalities,
egotistical rhodomontade and grammatical inelegancies and solecisms.” To go to a
man for “truth,” who is characterized by “the most fervid imagination and brilliant
powers of invention,” according to Mr. Emmette Coleman, shows Mr. Coleman in a
sorry light indeed! His only excuse can be that in January, 1877, when he invited
Colonel Olcott to discuss with him—despite the fact that the Theosophical Society
had been established in 1875, and all our “heresies” were already in print—his
estimation of his intellectual powers was different from what it is now, that Mr.
Coleman’s “address” has been left two years unread and unnoticed.
* [More likely about March 11th, 1875.—Compiler.]
Page 322
Does this look like our offering ourselves as “leaders”? We address the great body of
intelligent American Spiritualists. They have as much a right to their opinions as we
to ours; they have no more right than we to falsely state the positions of their
antagonists. But their would-be champion, Mr. Coleman, for the sake of having an
excuse to abuse me, pretends to quote (see column 2, paragraph 1) from something I
have published, a whole sentence that I defy him to prove I ever made use of. This is
downright literary fraud and dishonesty. A man who is in “search of truth” does not
usually employ a falsehood as a weapon.
Good friends, whose inquiries we have occasionally but rarely answered, bear
us witness that we have always disclaimed anything like “leadership”; that we have
invariably referred you to the same standard authors whom we have read, the same
old philosophers which we have studied. We call on you to testify that we have
repudiated dogmas and dogmatists, whether living men or disembodied spirits. As
opposed to materialists, theosophists are Spiritualists, but it would be as absurd for us
to claim the leadership of Spiritualism as for a Protestant priest to speak for the
Romish Church, or a Romish cardinal to lead the great body of Protestants, though
both claim to be Christians! Recrimination seems to be the life and soul of American
journalism, but I really thought that a Spiritualistic organ had more congenial matter
for its columns than such materialistic abuse as the present “Fort Leavenworth”
One chief aim of the writer seems to be to abuse Isis Unveiled. My publisher
will doubtless feel under great obligation for giving it such a notoriety just now, when
the fourth edition* is ready to go to press. That the fossilized reviewers of the Tribune
and Popular Science Monthly—both admitted advocates of materialistic science, and
unsparingly contemptuous denunciators of Spiritualism—should, without either
having read my book, brand it as Spiritualistic moonshine, was perfectly natural.
* [Rather the fourth printing of the same original edition; the word “edition” has been often used in
a rather loose manner.—Compiler.]
Page 323
I should have thought that I had written my first volume, holding up modern science
to public contempt for its unfair treatment of psychological phenomena, to small
purpose, if they had complimented me. Nor was I at all surprised that the critic of the
New York Sun permitted himself the coarse language of a partisan and betrayed his
ignorance of the contents of my book by terming me a “Spiritualist.” But I am sorry
that a critic like Mr. Coleman, who professes to speak for the Spiritualists and against
the materialists, should range himself by the side of the flunkeys of the latter, when at
least twenty of the first critics of Europe and America, not Spiritualists, but well-read
scholars, should have praised it even more unstintedly than he has bespattered it. If
such men as the author of The Great Dionysiak Myth and Poseidon,* writing a
private letter to a fellow archeologist and scholar, which he thought I would never
see, says the design of my book is “simply colossal,” and that the book “is really a
marvelous production” and has his “entire concurrence” in its views about: “(1) The
wisdom of the ancient sages; (2) The folly of the merely material philosopher [the
Emmette Colemans, Huxleys and Tyndalls]; (3) The doctrine of Nirvana; (4) Archaic
monotheism,” etc.; and when the London Public Opinion calls it “one of the most
extraordinary works of the Nineteenth Century,” in an elaborate criticism; and when
Alfred R. Wallace says, “I am amazed at the vast amount of erudition displayed in the
chapters, and the great interest of the topics on which they treat—your book will open
up to many Spiritualists a whole world of new ideas, and cannot fail to be of the
greatest value in the inquiry which is now being so earnestly carried on,” Mr.
Coleman really appears in the sorry light of one who abuses for the mere sake of
What a curious psychological power I must have! All the Journal writers, from
the talented editor down to Mr. Coleman, pretend to account for the blind devotion of
Colonel Olcott for Theosophy, the over-partial panegyric of Miss Kislingbury, the
friendly recantation of Dr. G. Bloede, and the surprisingly vigorous defense of myself
by Mr. C. Sotheran, and other recent events, on the ground of my having
psychologized them all into the passive servitude of hoodwinked dupes!
* [Robert Brown, Jr.]
Page 324
I can only say that such psychology is next door to a miracle. That I could influence
men and women of such acknowledged independence of character and intellectual
capacity, would be at least more than any of your lecturing mesmerizers or “spirit
controls” have been able to accomplish. Do you not see, my noble enemies, the
logical consequences of such a doctrine? Admit that I can do that, and you admit the
reality of magic, and my powers as an adept. I never claimed that magic was anything
but psychology practically applied. That one of your mesmerizers can make a
cabbage appear a rose, is only a lower form of the power you all endow me with. You
give an old woman—whether forty, fifty, sixty, or ninety years old (some swear I am
the latter, some the former), it matters not; an old woman whose “Kalmuco-
Buddhisto-Tartaric features,” even in youth, never made her appear pretty; a woman,
whose ungainly garb, uncouth manners and masculine habits are enough to frighten
any bustled and corseted fine lady of fashionable society out of her wits you give
[her] such powers of fascination as to draw fine ladies and gentlemen, scholars and
artists, doctors and clergymen, to her house by the scores, to not only talk philosophy
with her, not merely to stare at her as though she were a monkey in red flannel
breeches, as some of them do, but to honor her in many cases with their fast and
sincere friendship and grateful kindness! Psychology! If that is the name you give it,
then, although I have never offered myself as a teacher, you had better come, my
friends, and be taught at once the “trick” (gratis, for unlike other psychologizers, I
never yet took money for teaching anybody anything), so that hereafter you may not
be deceived into recognizing as— what Mr. Coleman so graphically calls “the sainted
dead of earth”—those pimple-nosed and garlic-breathing beings who climb ladders
through trap-doors and carry tow wigs and battered masks in the penetralia of their
Page 325
“The masculino-feminine Sclavonic Theosoph, from Crim-Tartary” — a title
which does more credit to Mr. Coleman's vituperative ingenuity than to his literary
[The Spiritualist, London, March 22, 1878, pp. 140-41]*
Two peas in the same pod are the traditional symbol of mutual resemblance, and
the time-honoured simile forced itself upon me when I read the twin letters of our two
masked assailants in your paper of February 22nd. In substance they are so identical
that one would suppose the same person had written them simultaneously with his
two hands, as Paul Morphy will play you two games of chess, or Kossuth dictate two
letters at once. The only difference between these two letters—lying beside each
other on the same page, like two babes in one crib—is, that “M. A. (Cantab.)’s” is
brief and courteous, while “Scrutator’s” is prolix and uncivil.
By a strange coincidence both these sharp-shooters fire from behind their secure
ramparts a shot at a certain “learned occultist” over the head of Mr. C. C. Massey,
who quoted some of that personage’s views, in a letter published May 10th, 1876.
Whether in irony or otherwise, they hurl the views of this “learned occultist” at the
heads of Colonel Olcott and myself, as though they were missiles that would floor us
* [Square brackets in the body of this article are H.P.B.’s own. —Compiler.]
Page 326
Now, the “learned occultist” in question is not a whit more, or less, learned than your
humble servant, for the very simple reason that we are identical. The extracts
published by Mr. Massey, by permission, were contained in a letter from myself to
him. Moreover, it is now before me, and, save one misprint of no consequence, I do
not find in it a word that I would wish changed. What is said there I repeat now over
my own signature—the theories of 1876 do not contradict those of 1878 in any
respect, as I shall endeavour to prove, after pointing out to the impartial reader the
quaking ground upon which our two critics stand. Their arguments against
Theosophy—certainly “Scrutator’s”—are like a verdant moss, which displays a
velvety carpet of green, without roots, and with a deep bog below.
When a person enters a controversy over a fictitious signature, he should be
doubly cautious, if he would avoid the accusation of abusing the opportunity of the
mask to insult his opponents with impunity. Who or what is “Scrutator”? A
clergyman, a medium, a lawyer, a philosopher, a physician (certainly not a
metaphysician), or what? Quien sabe? He seems to partake of the flavour of all, and
yet to grace neither. Though his arguments are all interwoven with sentences quoted
from our letters, yet in no case does he criticize merely what is written by us, but
what he thinks we may have meant, or what the sentences might imply. Drawing his
deductions, then, from what existed only in the depths of his own consciousness, he
invents phrases, and forces constructions upon which he proceeds to pour out his
wrath. Without meaning to be in the least personal—for, though propagating
“absurdities” with “utmost effrontery,” I would feel sorry and ashamed to be as
impertinent with “Scrutator” as he is with us—yet, hereafter, when I see a dog
chasing the shadow of his own tail, I will think of his letter.
Page 327
In my doubts as to what this assailant might be, I invoked the help of Webster to give
me a possible clue in the pseudonym. “Scrutator,” says the great lexicographer, “is
one who scrutinizes,” and “scrutiny” he derives from the Latin scrutari, “to search
even to the rags”; which scrutari itself he traces back to a Greek root, meaning “trash,
trumpery.” In this ultimate analysis, therefore, we must regard the nom de plume,
while very applicable to his letter of February 22nd, very unfortunate for himself; for
at best it makes him a sort of literary chiffonnier, probing in the dust-heap of the
language for bits of hard adjectives to fling at us. I repeat that, when an anonymous
critic accuses two persons of “slanderous imputations” (the mere reflex of his own
imagination), and of “unfathomable absurdities,” he ought, at least, to make sure (1)
that he has thoroughly grasped what he is pleased to call the “teachings” of his
adversaries; and (2) that his own philosophy is infallible. I may add, furthermore, that
when that critic permits himself to call the views of other people—not yet halfdigested
by himself—”unfathomable absurdities,” he ought to be mighty careful
about introducing as arguments into the discussion sectarian absurdities far more
“unfathomable” and which have nothing to do with either science or philosophy.
I suppose [gravely argues “Scrutator”] a babe’s brain is soft, and a quite unfit
tool for intelligence, otherwise Jesus could not have lost His intelligence when He
took upon Himself the body and the brain of a babe [!!?].
The very opposite of Oliver Johnson evidently, this Jesus-babe of “Scrutator’s.”
Such an argument might come with a certain force in a discussion between two
conflicting dogmatic sects, but if picked “even to rags,” it seems but “utmost
effrontery”—to use “Scrutator’s” own complimentary expression—to employ it in a
philosophical debate, as if it were either a scientific or historically proved fact! If I
refused, at the very start, to argue with our friend “M. A. (Oxon.),” a man whom I
esteem and respect as I do few in this world, only because he put forward a “cardinal
dogma,” I shall certainly lose no time in debating Theosophy with a tattering
Christian, whose “scrutinizing” faculties have not helped him beyond the acceptance
of the latest of the world’s Avatars, in all its unphilosophical dead letter meaning,
without even suspecting its symbolical significance.
Page 328
To parade in a would-be philosophical debate the exploded dogmas of any church, is
most ineffectual, and shows, at best, a great poverty of resource. Why does not
“Scrutator” address his refined abuse, ex cathedra, to the Royal Society, whose
Fellows doom to annihilation every human being, Theosophist or Spiritualist, pure or
With crushing irony he speaks of us as “our teachers.” Now, I remember having
distinctly stated in a previous letter that we have not offered ourselves as teachers,
but, on the contrary, decline any such office—whatever may be the superlative
panegyric of my esteemed friend, Mr. O’Sullivan, who not only sees in me “a
Buddhist priestess” (!), but, without a shadow of warrant of fact, credits me with the
foundation of the Theosophical Society and its Branches! Had Colonel Olcott been
half as “psychologised” by me as a certain American Spiritualist paper will have it, he
would have followed my advice and refused to make public our “views,” even though
so much and so often importuned in different quarters. With characteristic
stubbornness, however, he had his own way, and now reaps the consequence of
having thrown his bomb into a hornet’s nest. Instead of being afforded opportunity
for a calm debate, we get but abuse, pure and simple—the only weapon of partisans.
Well, let us make the best of it, and join our opponents in picking the question “to
rags.” Mr. C. C. Massey comes in for his share, too, and, though fit to be a leader
himself, is given by “Scrutator” a chief!
Neither of our critics seems to understand our views (or his own) so little as
“Scrutator.” He misapprehends the meaning of Elementary, and makes a sad mess of
spirit and matter. Hear him say that elementary is a new-fangled and ill-defined term .
. . not yet two years old!
This sentence alone proves that he forces himself into the discussion, without
any comprehension of the subject at issue.
Page 329
Evidently, he has neither read the mediaeval nor modern Kabalists. Henry Khunrath
is as unfamiliar to him as the Abbé Constant. Let him go to the British Museum, and
ask for the Amphitheatrum Sapientiae Aeternae of Khunrath. He will find in it
illustrative engravings of the four great classes of elementary spirits, as seen during
an evocation of ceremonial magic by the Magus who lifts the Veil of Isis. The author
explains that these are disembodied vicious men, who have parted with their divine
spirits, and become as beasts. After reading this volume, “Scrutator” may profitably
consult Éliphas Lévi, whom he will find using the words “Elementary Spirits”
throughout his Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie, in both senses in which we have
employed it. This is especially the case where (Vol. I, p. 262 et seq.) he speaks of the
evocation of Apollonius of Tyana by himself. Quoting from the greatest Kabalistic
authorities, he says:
When a man has lived well, the astral cadaver evaporates like a pure incense, as
it mounts towards the higher regions; but if a man has lived in crime, his astral
cadaver, which holds him prisoner, seeks again the objects of his passions and desires
to resume its earthly life. It torments the dreams of young girls, bathes in the vapour
of spilt blood, and wallows about the places where the pleasures of his life flitted by;
it watches without ceasing over the treasures which it possessed and buried: it wastes
itself in painful efforts to make for itself material organs [materialize itself] and live
again. But the stars attract and absorb it; its memory is gradually lost, its intelligence
weakens, all its being dissolves . . . The unhappy wretch loses thus in succession all
the organs which served its sinful appetites Then it [this astral body, this “soul,” this
all that is left of the once living man] dies a second time and for ever, for it then loses
its personality and its memory. Souls which are destined to live, but which are not yet
entirely purified, remain for a longer or shorter time captive in the astral cadaver,
where they are refined by the odic light, which seeks to assimilate them to itself and
dissolve. It is to rid themselves of this cadaver that suffering souls sometimes enter
the bodies of living persons, and remain there for a time in a state which the Kabalists
call embryonic [embryonat]. These are the aerial phantoms evoked by necromancy
[and I may add, the “materialized Spirits” evoked by the unconscious necromancy of
incautious mediums, in eases where the forms are not transformations of their own
doubles]; these are larvae, substances dead or dying with which one places himself en
Page 330
Further Lévi says (op. cit., p. 164):
The astral light is saturated with elementary souls . . . Yes, yes, these spirits of
the elements do exist. Some wandering in their spheres, others trying to incarnate
themselves, others, again, already incarnated and living on earth; these are vicious
and imperfect men.
And in the face of this testimony (which he can find in the British Museum, two
steps from the office of The Spiritualist!) that since the Middle Ages the Kabalists
have been writing about elementaries, and their potential annihilation, “Scrutator”
permits himself to arraign Theosophists for their “effrontery” in foisting upon
Spiritualists a “new-fangled and ill-defined term” which is “not yet two years old”!!
In truth, we may say that the idea is older than Christianity, for it is found in the
ancient Kabalistic books of the Jews. In the olden time they defined three kinds of
“souls”—the daughters of Adam, the daughters of the angels, and those of sin; and in
the book of The Revolution of the Souls three kinds of “spirits” (as distinct from
material bodies) are shown—the captive, the wandering and the free spirits. If
“Scrutator” were acquainted with the literature of Kabalism, he would know that the
term elementary applies not only to one principle or constituent part, to an elementary
primary substance, but also embodies the idea which we express by the term
elemental—that which pertains to the four elements of the material world, the first
principles or primary ingredients. The word “elemental,” as defined by Webster, was
not current at the time of Khunrath, but the idea was perfectly understood. The
distinction has been made, and the term adopted by Theosophists for the sake of
avoiding confusion. The thanks we get are that we are charged with propounding, in
1878, a different theory of the “elementaries” from that of 1876!
Does anything herein stated, either as from ourselves, or Khunrath, or Lévi,
contradict the statement of the “learned occultist” that:
Each atom, no matter where found, is imbued with that vital principle called
spirit . . . Each grain of sand, equally with each minutest atom of the human body, has
its inherent latent spark of the divine light?
Page 331
Not in the least. “M. A. (Cantab.)” asks, “How then, can a man lose this divine
light, in part or in whole, as a rule before death, if each minutest atom of the human
body has its inherent latent spark of the divine light?” Italicizing some words, as
above, but omitting to emphasize the one important word of the sentence, i.e.,
“latent,” which contains the key to the whole mystery. In the grain of sand, and each
atom of the human material body, the spirit is latent, not active; hence, being but a
correlation of the highest light, something concrete as compared with the purely
abstract, the atom is vitalized and energized by spirit, without being endowed with
distinct consciousness. A “grain of sand, as every minutest atom, is certainly “imbued
with that vital principle called spirit.” So is every atom of the human body, whether
physical or astral, and thus every atom of both, following the law of evolution,
whether of objective or semi-concrete astral matter, will have to remain eternal
throughout the endless cycles, indestructible in their primary, elementary
constituents. But will “M. A. (Cantab.)” for all that, call a grain of sand, or a human
nail-paring, consciously immortal? Does he mean us to understand him as believing
that a fractional part, as a fraction, has the same attributes, capabilities, and
limitations as the whole? Does he say that because the atoms in a nail-paring are
indestructible as atoms, therefore the body, of which the nail formed a part, is of
necessity, as a conscious whole, indestructible and immortal?
Our opponents repeat the words Trinity, Body, Soul, Spirit, as they might say the
cat, the house, and the Irishman inhabitating it—three perfectly dissimilar things.
They do not see that, dissimilar as the three parts of the human trinity may seem, they
are in truth but correlations of the one eternal essence—which is no essence; but
unfortunately the English language is barren of adequate expression, and, though they
do not see it, the house, the physical Irishman and the cat are, in their last analysis,
one. I verily begin to suspect that they imagine that spirit and matter are two, instead
of one!
Page 332
Truly says Vishnu Bawa Brahmachâri, in one of his essays in Marathi (1869), that the
opinion of the Europeans that matter is “Padârtha” (an equivalent for the “pada,” or
word “Abháva,” i.e., Ahey, composed of two letters, “Ahe,” meaning is, and “nahin,”
not), whereas “Abhâva” is no “Padârtha,” is foolishly erroneous!”
Kant, Schopenhauer and Hartmann seem to have written to little effect, and
Kapila will be soon pronounced an antiquated ignoramus. Without at all ranging
myself under Schopenhauer’s banner, who maintains that in reality there is neither
spirit nor matter, yet I must say that if ever he were studied, Theosophy would be
better understood.
But can one really discuss metaphysical ideas in an European language? I doubt
it. We say “spirit,” and behold, what confusion it leads to! Europeans give the name
spirit to that something which they conceive as apart from physical organization,
independent of corporeal, objective existence; and they call spirit also the airy,
vaporous essence, alcohol. Therefore, the New York reporter who defined a
materialized Spirit as “frozen whiskey,” was right, in his way. A copious vocabulary,
indeed, that has but one term for God and for alcohol! With all their libraries of
metaphysics, European nations have not even gone to the trouble of inventing
appropriate words to elucidate metaphysical ideas. If they had, perhaps one book in
every thousand would have sufficed to really instruct the public, instead of there
being the present confusion of words, obscuring intelligence, and utterly hampering
the Orientalist, who would expound his philosophy in English. Whereas, in the latter
language, I find but one word to express, perhaps, twenty different ideas, in the
Eastern tongues, especially Sanskrit, there are twenty words or more to render one
idea in its various shades of meaning.
We are accused of propagating ideas that would surprise the “average”
Buddhist. Granted, and I will liberally add that the average Brahminist might be
equally astonished. We never said that we were either Buddhists or Brahminists in the
sense of their popular exoteric theologies.
Page 333
Buddha, sitting on his lotus, or Brahmâ, with any number of teratological arms,
appeal to us as little as the Catholic Madonna, or the Christian personal God, which
stare at us from cathedral walls and ceilings. But neither Buddha nor Brahmâ
represent to their respective worshippers the same ideas as these Catholic icons,
which we regard as blasphemous. In this particular, who dares say that Christendom,
with its boasted civilization, has outgrown the fetishism of the Fijians? When we see
Christians and Spiritualists speaking so flippantly and confidently about God and the
materialization of “spirit,” we wish they might be made to share a little in the
reverential ideas of the old Aryas.
We do not write for “average” Buddhists, or average people of any sort. But I
am quite willing to match any tolerably educated Buddhist or Brahman against the
best metaphysicians of Europe, to compare views on God and on man’s immortality.
The ultimate abstract definition of this—call it God, force. Principle, as you will
—will ever remain a mystery to Humanity, though it attain to its highest intellectual
development. The anthropomorphic ideas of Spiritualists concerning spirit are a
direct consequence of the anthropomorphic conceptions of Christians as to the Deity.
So directly is the one the outflow of the other, that “Scrutator’s” handiest argument
against the duality of a child and potential immortality is to cite “Jesus who increased
in wisdom as his brain increased.”
Christians call God an Infinite Being, and then endow Him with every finite
attribute, such as love, anger, benevolence, mercy! They call Him All-Merciful, and
preach eternal damnation for three-fourths of humanity in every church; All-Just, and
the sins of this brief span of life may not be expiated by even an eternity of conscious
agony. Now, by some miracle of oversight, among thousands of mistranslations in the
“Holy” Writ, the word “destruction,” the synonym of annihilation, was rendered
correctly in the King James’ version, and no dictionary can make it read either
damnation, or eternal torment.
Page 334
Though the Church consistently put down the “destructionists,” yet the impartial will
scarcely deny that they come nearer than their persecutors to believing what Jesus
taught and what is consistent with justice, in teaching the final annihilation of the
To conclude, then, we believe that there is but one indefinable principle in the
whole universe, which being utterly incomprehensible by our finite intellects, we
prefer rather to leave undebated, than to blaspheme its majesty with our
anthropomorphic speculations. We believe that all else which has being, whether
material or spiritual, and all that may have existence, actually or potentially in our
idealism, emanates from this principle. That everything is a correlation in one shape
or another of this Will and Force; and hence, judging of the unseen by the visible, we
base our speculations upon the teachings of the generations of sages who preceded
Christianity, fortified by our own reason.
I have already illustrated the incapacity of some of our critics to separate
abstract ideas from complex objects, by instancing the grain of sand and the nailparing.
They refuse to comprehend that a philosophical doctrine can teach that an
atom imbued with divine light, or a portion of the great Spirit, in its latent stage of
correlation, may, notwithstanding its reciprocal or corresponding similarity and
relations to the one indivisible whole, be yet utterly deficient in self-consciousness.
That it is only when this atom, magnetically drawn to its fellow atoms, which had
served in a previous state to form with it some lower complex object, is transformed
at last, after endless cycles of evolution, into MAN—the apex of perfected being,
intellectually and physically, on our planet—in conjunction with them becomes, as a
whole, a living soul, and reaches the state of intellectual self-consciousness. “A stone
becomes a plant, a plant an animal, an animal a man, and man a spirit,” say the
Kabalists. And here again, is the wretched necessity of translating by the word
“spirit” an expression which means a celestial, or rather ethereal, transparent man—
something diametrically opposite to the man of matter, yet a man. But if man is the
crown of evolution on earth, what is he in the initiatory stages of the next existences
—that man who, at his best, even when he is pretended to have served as a habitation
for the Christian God, Jesus, is said by Paul to have been “made a little lower than the
Page 335
But now we have every astral spook transformed into an “angel”! I cannot believe
that the scholars who write for your paper—and there are some of great intelligence
and erudition who think for themselves; and whom exact science has taught that ex
nihilo nihil fit; who know that every atom of man’s body has been evolving by
imperceptible gradations, from lower into higher forms, through the cycles— accept
the unscientific and illogical doctrine that the simple unshelling of an astral man
transforms him into a celestial spirit and “angel” guide.
In Theosophical opinion a spirit is a ray, a fraction of the whole; and the Whole
being Omniscient and Infinite, its fraction must partake, in degree, of the same
abstract attributes. Man’s “spirit” must become the drop of the ocean, called “Iśvara-
Bhava”—the “I am one body, together with the universe itself” (I am in my Father,
and my Father is in me), instead of remaining but the “Jiva-Bhava,” the body only.
He must feel himself not only a part of the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer, but of
the soul of the three, the Parabrahma, who is above these, and is the vitalizing,
energizing, and ever-presiding Spirit. He must fully realize the sense of the word
“Sahajânanda,” that state of perfect bliss in Nirvâna, which can only exist for the It,
which has become co-existent with the “formless and actionless present time.” This is
the state called “Vartamana,” or the “Ever Still Present,” in which there is neither past
nor future, but one infinite eternity of present. Which of the controlling “spirits,”
materialized or invisible, have shown any signs that they belong to the kind of real
spirits known as the “Sons of Eternity”? Has the highest of them been able to tell
even as much as our own Divine Nous can whisper to us in moments when there
comes the flash of sudden prevision? Honest communicating “intelligences” often
answer to many questions: “We do not know; this has not been revealed to us.” This
very admission proves that, while in many cases on their way to knowledge and
perfection, yet they are but embryonic, undeveloped “spirits”; they are inferior even
to some living Yogis who, through abstract meditation, have united themselves with
their personal individual Brahmâ, their Âtman, and hence have overcome the
“Ajñâna,” or lack of that knowledge as to the intrinsic value of one’s “self,” the Ego,
or self-being, so recommended by Socrates and the Delphic commandment.
Page 336
London has been often visited by highly intellectual, educated Hindus. I have not
heard of any one professing a belief in “materialized spirits”—as spirits. When not
tainted with Materialism, through demoralizing association with Europeans, and
when free from superstitious sectarianism, how would one of them, versed in the
Vedânta, regard these apparitions of the circle? The chances are that, after going the
rounds of the mediums, he would say: “Some of these may be survivals of
disembodied men’s intelligences, but they are no more spiritual than the average man.
They lack the knowledge of ‘Dhyânânta,’ and evidently find themselves in a chronic
state of ‘Mâyâ,’ i.e., possessed of the idea that ‘they are that which they are not.’ The
‘Vartamana’ has no significance for them, as they are cognizant but of the ‘Vishama’
[that which, like the concrete numbers in mixed mathematics, applies to that which
can be numbered]. Like simple, ignorant mortals, they regard the shadow of things as
the reality, and vice versa, mixing up the true light of the ‘Vyatireka’ with the false
light or deceitful appearance—the ‘Anvaya.’ . . . In what respect, then, are they higher
than the average mortal? No; they are not spirits, not ‘Devas,’ . . . they are astral
Of course, all this will appear to “Scrutator” “unfathomable absurdities,” for,
unfortunately, few metaphysicians shower down from Western skies. Therefore, so
long as our English opponents will remain in their semi-Christian ideas, and not only
ignore the old philosophy, but the very terms it employs to render abstract ideas; so
long as we are forced to transmit these ideas in a general way—particularly being
impracticable without the invention of special words—it will be unprofitable to push
discussion to any great length. We would only make ourselves obnoxious to the
general reader, and receive from other anonymous writers such unconvincing
compliments as “Scrutator” has favoured us with.
New York, March 7th, 1877.*
* [An obvious error for 1878.—Compiler.]
Page 337
[In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. VII, pp. 56-57, there is pasted a cutting from The
Spiritualist of London, dated March 29, 1878. It is an article by G. Damiani regarding
“The Manifestations in Naples of the Alleged Spirit of Nana Sahib.” H.P.B. wrote the
following remarks at the end of this article:]
How interesting—were it not for the fact that there is every reason to believe
that Nana Sahib is still alive.
Page 338
[Banner of Light, Boston, Vol. XLII, March 30, 1873, p. 2]
In the older countries of Europe and Asia there frequently occur examples of
interference by the dead with the living, to which American Spiritualists are as yet
comparative strangers. The experience of many generations has taught the higher,
equally with the lower classes, to accept this! intervention as a fixed fact. With this
difference, however, that as a rule, the former acknowledging the reality of the
phenomena, find, to escape ridicule, a convenient loophole by attributing them to
strange coincidences, while the latter, with less learning but more intuition, have no
difficulty in divining the real cause. Tales calculated to freeze the blood with horror
circulate in many of the lands I have visited, and more than once, instances of the
reward and punishment of good or evil deeds by occult agency have come under my
own observation.
The story I am about to relate has the merit of being perfectly true. The family is
well-known in that portion of the Russian dominions where the scene is located. The
circumstance was witnessed by one of my relatives, upon whom it made an
impression that he carried to his grave.
* [In her Scrapbook, Vol. I, p. 119, where the cuttings of this story are pasted. H.P.B. wrote in pen
and ink:
3d story (Killed on account of being too horrible . . .)
She most likely means by this that the New York Sun refused to publish it at the time her 1st and
2nd stories appeared therein.
This story was republished by H.P.B. in The Theosophist, Vol. IV, April, 1883, pp. 164-66, and later
appeared in a Russian version—most likely from H.P.B.’s own pen—in Rebus (Riddle), Vol. V,
January 5, 12 and 19, 1886. The latter version is somewhat fuller, even though it lacks some of the
paragraphs of the English text.—Compiler.]
Page 339
My object in telling it is to illustrate one of the many phases of psychological
science studied by Theosophists, and which i must be studied by whoever would
inform himself thoroughly upon the relations of living man with the silent world of
shadows—that bourne from which . . . some travellers do return....
It may be taken as a case of mediumship of a most striking kind—in short, a
transfiguration. It differs only in degree from that of Mrs. Markee—formerly
Compton—witnessed and described by Colonel Olcott in his work, and one of the
most astounding ones on record.* The physical body of Mrs. Compton was
transformed alternately into the shapes of a dwarfish girl and a tall Indian chief. In
the present instance the haunting soul of an old man enters a child’s body, and
temporarily re-incarnating itself, becomes the agent of inexorable destiny. The
intelligent reader will need no further hint to enable him to trace the lesson which my
veracious narrative conveys.†
In one of the distant governments of Russia, in a small town on the very borders
of Siberia, a mysterious tragedy occurred some twenty years ago—a tragedy which
haunts the memory of the older inhabitants of the district to this very day, and is
recounted but in whispers to the inquisitive traveller.
About six versts from the little town of P——, famous for the wild beauty of its
scenery, and for the wealth of its inhabitants—generally proprietors of mines and iron
foundries —stood an old and aristocratic mansion. Its household consisted of the
master, a rich old bachelor, and his brother, a widower and the father of two sons and
three daughters. It was known that the proprietor, Mr. Izvertzoff, had adopted his
brother’s children, and, having formed an especial attachment for his eldest nephew,
Nicholas, had made him the sole heir to his numerous estates.
* [Vide Col. H. S. Olcott, People from the Other World, Hartford, Conn., 1875, pp. 479 et seq.—
† [The opening paragraphs, up to here, .10 not occur in the Russian version of this story.—
Page 340
Time rolled on. The uncle was getting old, the nephew coming of age. Days and years
had passed in monotonous serenity, when, on the hitherto clear horizon of the quiet
family appeared a cloud. On an unlucky day one of the nieces took it into her head to
study the zither. The instrument being of purely Teutonic origin, and no teacher for
that specialty residing in the neighborhood, the indulgent uncle sent to St. Petersburg
for both. After diligent search only one such professor could be found willing to trust
himself in such close proximity to Siberia. It was an old German artist, who, sharing
equally his earthly affections between his instrument and a pretty blonde daughter,
would part with neither. And thus it came to pass that, one fine morning, the old
professor arrived at the mansion with his zither-case under one arm, and his fair
Minchen leaning on the other.
From that day the little cloud began growing rapidly; for every vibration of the
melodious instrument found a responsive echo in the old bachelor’s heart. Music
awakens love, they say, and the work begun by the zither was completed by
Minchen’s blue eyes. At the expiration of six months the niece had become an expert
zitherplayer and the uncle was desparately in love. One morning, gathering his
adopted family around him, he embraced them all very tenderly, promised to
remember them in his will, and wound up by declaring his unalterable resolution to
marry the blue-eyed Minchen. After which he fell upon their necks and wept in silent
rapture. The family also wept: but it was for another cause. Having paid this tribute to
self-interest, they tried their best to rejoice, for the old gentleman was sincerely
beloved. Not all of them rejoiced, though. Nicholas, who had equally felt himself
heart-smitten by the pretty Germain maid, and who found himself at once defrauded
of his belle and his uncle’s money, neither rejoiced nor consoled himself, but
disappeared for the v hole day.
Meanwhile Mr. Izvertzoff gave orders to prepare his travelling carriage for the
following morning. It was whispered that he was going to the government town at
some distance from here, with the intention of altering his will.
Page 341
Though very wealthy he had no superintendent on his estate, but kept his books
himself. The same evening, after supper, he was heard in his room scolding angrily at
his body-servant who had been in his service for over thirty years. This man, Ivan,
was a native of Northern Asia, from Kamchatka. Brought up by the family in the
Christian religion, he was thought very much attached to his master. But when the
tragic circumstances I am about to relate had brought all the police force to the spot,
it was remembered that Ivan was drunk on that night; that his master, who had a
horror of this vice, had paternally thrashed him and turned him out of the room; and
that Ivan had been seen reeling out of the door and heard to mutter threats.
There was on the estate of the Izvertzoffs a great cavern, which excited (and
still excites) the curiosity of all who visited it. A pine forest, which began nearly at
the garden gate, climbed by steep terraces a long range of rocky hills, which it
covered with a belt of impenetrable verdure. The grotto leading to the place which
people called the “Cave of the Echoes,” was situated about half a mile from the
mansion, from which it appeared as a small excavation in the hillside, almost hidden
by luxuriant plants. Still it was not so masked as to prevent any person entering it
from being readily seen from the terrace of the house. Inside the grotto, the explorer
finds at the rear of an ante-chamber a narrow cleft, having passed which he emerges
into a lofty cavern, feebly lighted through fissures in a ceiling fifty feet high. The
cavern itself is immense, capable of easily holding two or three thousand people. A
part of it was, at the time of my story, paved with flags, and often used in the summer
by picnic parties as a ball-room. Of an irregular oval shape, it gradually narrows into
a broad corridor, which runs several miles underground, intercepted here and there by
other chambers as large and lofty as the ballroom, but, unlike that, inaccessible except
by boat, as they are full of water. These natural basins have the reputation of being
Page 342
On the margin of the first of these was a small platform, with several mossy
rustic seats arranged on it, and it is from this spot that the phenomenal echoes were
heard in all their weirdness. A word pronounced in a whisper or a sigh seemed caught
up by endless, mocking voices, and instead of diminishing in volume, as honest
echoes generally do, the sound grew louder at every successive repetition, until at last
it burst forth like the repercussion of a pistol shot, and receded in a plaintive wail
down the corridor.
On the evening in question, Mr. Izvertzoff had mentioned his intention of having
a dancing party in the cave on his wedding day, which he had fixed for an early date.
On the following morning, while preparing for his departure, he was seen by his
family entering the grotto, accompanied only by the Siberian. Half an hour later Ivan
returned to the mansion for a snuffbox which his master had forgotten in his room,
and went back with it to the cave. An hour later the whole household was startled
with his loud cries. Pale, and dripping with water, Ivan rushed in like a madman and
declared that Mr. Izvertzoff was nowhere to be found in the grotto. Thinking he had
fallen into one of the lakes, he had dived into the first basin in search of him, and got
nearly drowned himself.
The day passed in vain attempts to find the body. The police filled the house,
and louder than the rest in his despair seemed Nicholas, the nephew, who had
returned home only in time to hear the sad tidings.
A dark suspicion fell upon Ivan, the Siberian. He had been struck by his master
the night before, and had been heard to swear revenge. He had accompanied him
alone to the cave, and when his room was searched a casket full of rich family
jewelry, known to have been carefully kept in old Izvertzoff’s apartment, was found
under Ivan’s bedding. Vainly did the man call God to witness that the casket had been
handed to him in charge by his master himself, just before they proceeded to the cave;
that it was the latter’s purpose to have the jewelry reset, as he intended it for a
wedding present for his bride, and that he, Ivan, would willingly give his own life to
recall that of his benefactor, if he knew him to be dead.
Page 343
No heed was paid to him, however, and he was arrested upon the charge of foul
murder, though no definite sentence could be passed on him, as, under the old
Russian law, a criminal cannot be sentenced for any crime, however conclusive the
evidence, unless he confesses his guilt; yet the poor man had the prospect of prison
for the whole of his life, unless he did confess.
After a week spent in useless search the family arrayed themselves in deep
mourning, and, as the will as originally drawn remained without a codicil, the whole
of the estate passed into the hands of the nephew. The old teacher and his fair
daughter bore this sudden reverse of fortune with true Germanic phlegm, and
prepared to depart Taking again his zither under one arm, the father was about to lead
his Minchen by the other, when the nephew stopped him by offering himself as
groom instead of his departed uncle The change was found an agreeable one, and,
without much ado, the young couple were married.
Ten years roll away again, and we find the happy family at the beginning of
1855 The fair, blue-eyed Minchen had become fat and vulgar. From the day of the old
man’s disappearance Nicholas had been morose and retired in his habits. Many
wondered at the change in him, for now he was never seen to smile. It seemed as if
his only aim in life, since the catastrophe, was to find out his uncle’s murderer or
rather to bring Ivan to confess his guilt. But the man still persisted that he was
An only son had been born to the young couple, and it was hoped that this would
have brought a ray of sunshine to the father’s heart. But it was such a weak and puny
little creature that it seemed scarce able to catch its breath; and so, according to the
Russian custom in such cases, the family priest was called to christen it the same
evening, lest, dying, it might go to the place prepared for unbaptized infants by
Christian theology.
Page 344
The family and servants were gathered at the ceremony in the large reception room of
the house, and the priest was about to dip the babe thrice in the water, when he was
seen to stop abruptly, turn deadly pale, and stare into vacancy, while his hands shook
so violently that he almost dropped the child into the baptismal font. At the same
time, the nurse, who stood at the end of the first row of spectators, gave a wild shriek,
and pointing to the direction of the library room used by the old Izvertzoff, ran away
in terror. No one could understand the panic of these two personages, for, except
them, no one had seen anything extraordinary. Some had remarked the library door
swing slowly open, but it must have been caused by the wind, which was now
wailing all through the old mansion. After the ceremony, the priest, corroborated by
the hysterically sobbing maid, solemnly averred that he had seen, for one moment,
the apparition of the deceased master upon the threshold of his library, then swiftly
glide toward the font, and instantly disappear. Both witnesses described the spectre as
having on its features an expression of menace. The priest, after crossing himself and
muttering prayers, insisted that the whole family should have Masses said for the
space of seven weeks for the repose of the “troubled soul.”*
It was a strange child, this babe of Nicholas and Minchen, and seemed to have
an uncanny atmosphere about it. Small, delicate, and ever ailing, his frail life
appeared to hang by a thread as he grew. When his features were in repose, his
resemblance to his grand uncle was so striking that the members of the family often
shrank from him in terror. It was the pale, shrivelled face of a man of sixty upon the
shoulders of a child of nine years. He was never seen to either laugh or play; but,
perched in his high chair, gravely sat, folding his arms in a way peculiar to the late
Izvertzoff. He would remain so for hours, motionless and drowsy. His nurse was
often seen furtively crossing herself, at night upon approaching him; and not one of
his attendants would consent to sleep alone with him in the nursery. His father’s
behaviour toward him was still more strange.
* [This entire scene is lacking in the Russian version of the story. —Compiler.]
Page 345
He seemed to love him passionately, and yet to hate him bitterly at moments. He
never embraced or caressed the boy, but would pass long hours watching him, with
livid cheek and staring eye, as he sat quietly in a corner, in his goblin-like, oldfashioned
way. The child had never left the estate, and few outside the family knew
About the middle of July, a tall Hungarian traveller, preceded by a great
reputation for eccentricity, wealth, and most extraordinary mesmeric powers, arrived
at P— from Kamchatka, where, as was rumoured, he had resided for some time,
surrounded by Shamans. He settled in the little town, with one of this sect, and was
said to experiment in mesmerism on this North Siberian "sorcerer,” as he was called
by the inhabitants. He gave dinners and parties, and during such receptions,
invariably exhibited his Shaman of whom he felt very proud. One day, the notables of
P—––made an unexpected invasion of the domain of Nicholas Izvertzoff, and
requested of him the loan of his “Cave” for an evening entertainment. Nicholas
consented with great reluctance, and with still greater hesitancy was he prevailed
upon to join the party, among whom was my own relative.
The first cavern and the platform beside the bottomless lake glittered that
evening with lights. Hundreds of flickering torches and lamps, stuck in the clefts of
the rocks, illuminated the place, and drove the shadows from the mossy nooks and
corners, where they had been undisturbed for many years. The stalactites on the walls
sparkled brightly, and the sleeping echoes were suddenly awakened by a confusion of
joyous laughter and conversation. The Shaman, who was never lost sight of by his
friend and patron, sat in a corner, half entranced as usual. Crouched on a projecting
rock, about midway between the entrance and the water, with his orange-yellow
wrinkled face, flat nose, and thin beard, he looked more like an ugly stone idol than a
human being. Many of the company pressed round him and received correct answers
from the oracle to their questions, the Hungarian cheerfully submitting his
mesmerized “subject” to cross examination.
Page 346
Suddenly one of the party, a lady, thoughtlessly remarked that it was in that very
cave that old Mr. Izvertzoff had so unaccountably disappeared ten years before. The
foreigner appeared interested, and desired to learn more of the mysterious
circumstances. Nicholas was sought in the crowd, and led before the eager group. He
was the host, and he found it impossible to refuse the narrative demanded by a
sympathizing guest. He repeated the sad tale in a trembling voice, with a pallid cheek,
and a tear was seen to glitter in his feverish eye. The company was greatly affected,
and encomiums upon the behaviour of the loving nephew, who so honoured the
memory of his uncle and benefactor, freely circulated in sympathetic whispers.
Suddenly the voice of Nicholas became choked, his eyes started from their sockets,
and, with a suppressed groan, he staggered back. Every eye in the crowd followed
with curiosity his haggard look, as it remained riveted upon a weazened little face
that peeped from behind the back of the Shaman.
“Where do you come from? Who brought you here, child?” lisped out Nicholas,
as pale as death itself.
“I was in bed, papa; this man came to me and brought me here in his arms,”
simply answered the boy, pointing to the Shaman, beside whom he stood on the rock,
and who, with his eyes closed, kept swaying himself to and fro like a living
“That is very strange,” remarked one of the guests; “why, the man has never
moved from his place!”
“Good God! What an extraordinary resemblance!” muttered an old resident of
the town, a friend of the dead man.
“You lie, boy!” fiercely exclaimed the father. “Return to your bed; this is no
place for you. . . “
“Come, come,” interposed the Hungarian, with a strange expression of authority
on his face, and encircling with his arm, as if in protection, the slender, childish
figure. “The little fellow has seen my Shaman’s double, which roams sometimes far
away from his body, and has mistaken the astral man for the outward phantom itself.
Let the child remain with us awhile.”
Page 347
At these strange words the guests stared at each other in mute surprise, and
some of them looked upon the speaker with real terror.
“By the bye,” continued the Hungarian, with a very peculiar firmness of accent,
and addressing the public rather than any one in particular, “why should we not try to
unravel the mystery hanging over that tragedy, with the help of the clairvoyant
powers of my Shaman? Is the suspected party still lying in prison? . What? . . . not
confessed till now? This is indeed strange. But now we will learn the truth in a few
minutes. . . . My Shaman’s second sight, when properly directed, never errs. Let all
keep silent!”
He then approached the Tehuktchene, and making as though drawing an
imaginary circle with his hand around himself, the Shaman, and boy, immediately
began his operations over the subject without so much as asking the consent of the
master of the place. The latter stood rooted to the spot as if petrified with horror, and
unable to articulate a sound. Except by him, the suggestion was met with general
approbation, and the “Police-Master,” Colonel S——, was the first to approve the
“Ladies and gentlemen,” then said the mesmerizer in amiable tone, “allow me
for this once to proceed otherwise than I generally do. I will employ the method of
native magic. It is more appropriate to this wild place, and, I dare say, we will find it
far more effective than our European mode of mesmerization.”
Without waiting for an answer he drew from a bag that, as he explained, never
left his person, first, a small drum, and then two little vials—one full of liquid, the
other empty. With the contents of the former he sprinkled the Shaman, who fell to
trembling and nodding more violently than ever. The air was filled with the perfumes
of spicy odors, and the atmosphere itself seemed to become clearer.
Page 348
Then, to the horror of those present, he approached the Shaman, and taking a
miniature, antiquated-looking knife from his bosom, quietly plunged the sharp steel
into the man’s forearm and, drew blood from it, which he caught in the empty vial.
When it was half-filled he pressed the orifice of the wound with his thumb, and
stopped the flow as easily as if he had corked a bottle; after which he sprinkled the
blood over the little boy’s head. He then suspended the drum from his neck, and with
two ivory drumsticks which were covered with strange carved letters and signs, be
began beating a sort of reveille——he said to drum up the Shaman’s “spirits.”
The bystanders, half shocked and half terrified at these extraordinary
proceedings, eagerly, yet half timidly, crowded around him, and for a few moments a
dead silence reigned throughout the lofty cavern. Nicholas, with his face livid and
corpse-like, stood speechless as before.
And now the mesmerizer magician had placed himself between the Shaman and
the platform, and continued slowly drumming. The first notes were muffled, and
vibrating so softly in the air that they awakened no echo; only the Shaman quickened
still more his pendulum-like motion, and the child became restless. The mysterious
drummer then began a low chant, slow, impressive and solemn.
As the unknown words issued from his lips, the flames of the torches, lamps and
candles wavered and flickered, until they began dancing in rhythm with the chant. A
cold wind came wheezing from the dark corridors beyond the water, leaving a
plaintive echo in its trail. Then a sort of nebulous vapor, which seemed to ooze from
the rocky ground and walls, gathered about the Shaman and the boy. Around the latter
the aura was silvery and transparent, but the cloud which enveloped the former was
red and sinister. Approaching nearer the platform, the adept beat a louder call on his
drum, and this time the echo caught it up with terrific effect. It reverberated near and
far in incessant peals; one wail followed another, louder and louder, until the
thundering roar seemed the chorus of a thousand demon voices rising from the
fathomless depths of the dark lake.
Page 349
The water itself, whose tranquil surface, illuminated by many lights, had previously
been smooth as a sheet of glass, became suddenly agitated, as if a powerful gust of
wind had swept over its face.
Another chant and a roll of the drum, and the mountain trembled to its
foundation with the cannon-like peals which rolled through the dark and distant
corridors. The Shaman’s body rose two yards in the air, and, nodding and swaying, he
sat, self-suspended, like a hideous apparition. But the transformation which now
occurred in the boy chilled everyone with fear as they speechlessly watched the
scene. The silvery cloud about the child now seemed to lift him, too, into the air; but,
unlike the Shaman, his feet never left the ground. The little boy began to grow as if
the work of years was to be miraculously accomplished in a few seconds. He became
tall and large, and his senile features grew older, in harmony with the body. A few
more seconds and the youthful form had entirely disappeared: it was totally absorbed
in another individuality! and, to the horror of those present who had been familiar
with his appearance, this individuality was old Izvertzoff! . . .
On his left temple was a large, gaping wound from which trickled great drops of
blood. The phantom now moved directly in front of Nicholas, who, with his hair
standing erect, gazed at his own son, transformed into his uncle, with the look of a
raving madman. This sepulchral silence was broken by the Hungarian, who,
addressing the child phantom, asked him in solemn voice: “In the name of Them who
have all powers, answer the truth, and nothing but the truth. Restless soul, was thy
body lost by accident, or foully murdered?”
The spectre’s lips moved, but it was the echo from afar which answered in
lugubrious shouts:
“Murdered! Murde-red! Mur-de-red!”
“Where? How? By whom?” asked the adept.
The apparition pointed a finger at Nicholas, and without removing its gaze or
lowering its arm, retreated backward slowly towards the lake.
Page 350
At every step it took, the young Izvertzoff, as if compelled by some irresistible
fascination, advanced a step toward it, until the phantom reached the edge of the
water, and the next moment was seen gliding on its surface. It was a fearful, ghostly
When Nicholas had come to within two steps of the brink of the watery abyss, a
violent convulsion ran through the frame of the guilty man. Flinging himself upon his
knees, he clung to one of the rustic seats with a desperate clutch, and, staring wildly,
uttered one long, piercing cry of agony, which rang through the ears of the crowd, but
was unable to arouse even one of them from the lethargy into which they seemed all
plunged. Like one in the clutches of a nightmare, they saw, heard, and remembered
all, but were unable to stir a finger. The phantom now remained motionless on the
water, and, bending its extended hand, slowly beckoned the assassin to come.
Crouched in abject terror, the wretched man shrieked until the cavern rang again:
“I did not . . . no, I did not murder you! . . .”
Then came a splash, and now there was the boy in the dark water, struggling for
his life in the middle of the lake, with the same motionless, stern apparition brooding
over him, from whose very substance the child seemed to have dropped out.
“Papa! papa! save me!—I am drowning!” cried the piteous little voice amid the
uproar of the echoes.
“My boy!” shrieked Nicholas in the accents of a maniac, springing to his feet,
“My boy! save, oh, save him! . . . Yes, I confess—I am the murderer! . . . I killed
“Killed . . . him . . . killed . . . killed! . . .” repeated hundreds of echoes like peals
of laughter from a legion of infuriated demons.
Another splash, and the phantom suddenly disappeared. With one cry of
unutterable terror the company, released from the spell which had hitherto paralyzed
them, rushed toward the platform to the rescue of both father and child. But their feet
were rooted to the ground anew as they beheld amid the swirling eddies a whitish,
shapeless mass, an elongated mist, wrapping the murderer in tight embrace, and
slowly sinking into the bottomless lake! . . .
Page 351
On the morning after these occurrences, when, after a sleepless night, some of the
party went to the residence of the Hungarian gentleman, they found it closed and
deserted. He and the Shaman had disappeared. To add to the general consternation,
the Izvertzoff mansion took fire on that same night, and was completely destroyed.
The archbishop himself performed the ceremony of exorcism, but the locality is
considered accursed to this day.
The government investigated the facts, and—ordered silence.
And now a few words in conclusion.* I hope that, whoever else may be
disposed to question the possibility of an occurrence like the above, it will not be the
intelligent Spiritualist. Not a feature in my narrative but finds in the records of
mediumship its parallel. The apparition of the astral form like that of old Izvertzoff at
the baptism is an everyday affair with clairvoyants. If the child was transformed into
a man, in the sight of a crowd of people, so has a child-apparition been seen to
emerge from Dr. Monck’s side and many children to step out of William Eddy’s
cabinet. If elongation of the body occurred in the boy’s case, the same thing is alleged
of various mediums. If a “spirit”—according to the accepted phraseology, an “astral
man” as we term it—crowding out the undeveloped soul of the newly-born dual
creature, took possession of his body, so have hundreds of other earth-bound souls
obsessed the bodies of mediums. Interchange of “souls” has been noticed in living
men unacquainted with each other, and even residing at opposite points of the globe.
This may happen either from disease, which generally loosens the bonds between the
astral and the physical man, or in consequence of some other occult condition.
* [These concluding remarks do not appear in the Russian version of the story.—Compiler.]
Page 352
The levitation of the Shaman is no more a matter of wonder; and if his “double”
wandered from his entranced body, so has the same phenomenon been oft reported in
Spiritualistic papers as happening under our own observation. This Russian episode
but confirms what investigators of modern phenomena have experienced. In it,
throughout a period of ten years, the whole plot is developed by a real disembodied
“spirit.” Earth-bound, he burned for a just but fiendish revenge, the planning and
execution of which constituted certainly an insurmountable impediment to the
progress and purification of the troubled soul. The “Elementals” play no part in my
story, except when thrown into violent perturbation by the sounds of the magical
drum and the incantations of the adept. The action of these creatures was limited to
the flickering of the flames, the disturbance of the water in the lake, and the
intensification of the awakened echoes. The phenomena at P—— were produced and
controlled by an adept-psychologist, working for, with, and through a disembodied
soul, upon a deliberate plan for the accomplishment of a cruel vengeance, which,
though charged to the account of the unhappy, restless astral man, yet accomplished
the ends of the unerring law of Retribution in punishing the guilty and rescuing the
Let the Spiritualist who would pronounce magic an exploded superstition,
compare the methods of the “magician” with those of the “circle.” The latter derives
its very name from the most common arrangement of the sitters. required by the
“spirits” themselves. This is found philosophical and necessary by the Spiritualists.
To ensure the formation of a circular magnetic current, the sitters are obliged to take
hold of hands. Most generally the medium will complain of being affected if this
magnetic chain is broken. Instances are known where instruments floating in the air
have fallen upon the breaking of this current. The “magician” either draws with chalk
a circle around the spot where the occult forces are to be concentrated to produce
phenomena, as Baron Du Potet is known by all France to do—or forms one in
thought, by will power; and this cannot be broken unless his WILL gives way.
Page 353
The rhythmic drum beats of the “magician” and his incantations are but another and
more perfected form of the singing and music-playing of modern circles. In a word,
the modern séance could be and should be made a school of magic, or philosophical,
controllable Spiritualism. Verb. sap.
New York, 1878.
[The Spiritualist, London, April 5,1878, pp. 161-62]
To the Editor of The Spiritualist.
I have read the communications of “H.M.” in your paper of the 8th inst. I would
not have mentioned the “Todas” at all in my book, if I had not read a very elaborate
octavo work in 271 pages, by William E. Marshall, Lieut.-Col. of Her Majesty’s
Bengal Staff Corps, entitled, A Phrenologist Among the Todas, copiously illustrated
with photographs of the squalid and filthy beings to whom “H.M.” refers. Though
written by a staff officer, assisted “by the Rev. Friedrich Metz, of the Basel
Missionary Society, who had spent upwards of twenty years of labours” among them,
and “the only European able to speak the obscure Toda tongue,” the book is so full of
misrepresentations—though both writers appear to be sincere—that I wrote what I
What I said I knew to be true, and I do not retract a single word. If neither
“H.M.” nor Lieut.-Col. Marshall, nor the Rev. Mr. Metz have penetrated the secret
that lies behind the dirty huts of the aborigines they have seen, that is their
misfortune, not my fault.
New York, March 18th, 1878.
Page 354
[The Spiritualist, London, April 12, 1878]
For my answer to the sneer of your correspondent “H.M.” about my opinion of
the Todas (The Spiritualist, March 8), a few lines sufficed. I only cared to say that
what I have written in Isis Unveiled was written after reading Colonel Wm. E.
Marshall’s A Phrenologist among the Todas, and in consequence of what, whether
justly or not, I believe to be the erroneous statements of that author. Writing about
Oriental psychology, its phenomena and practitioners, as I did, I would have been
ludicrously wanting in common sense if I had not anticipated such denials and
contradictions as those of “H.M.” from every side. How would it profit the seeker
after this Occult knowledge to face danger, privations, and obstacles of every kind to
gain it, if, after attaining his end, he should not have facts to relate of which the
profane were ignorant? A pretty set of critics the ordinary travellers or observers,
even though what Dr. Carpenter euphemistically calls a “scientific officer,” or
“distinguished civilian,” when, confessedly every European unfurnished with some
mystical passport, is debarred from entering any orthodox Brahman’s house, or the
inner precincts of a pagoda. How we poor Theosophists should tremble before the
scorn of those modern Daniels when the cleverest of them has never been able to
explain the commonest “tricks” of Hindu jugglers, to say nothing of the phenomena
of the Fakirs! These very savants answer the testimony of Spiritualists with an
equally lofty scorn, and resent as a personal affront the invitation to even attend a
I should therefore have let the “Todas” question pass, but for the letter of “Late
Madras C.S.” in your paper of the 15th. I feel bound to answer it, for the writer
plainly makes me out to be a liar. He threatens me, more over, with the thunderbolts
that a certain other officer has concealed in his library closet.
Page 355
It is quite remarkable how a man who resorts to an alias, sometimes forgets that
he is a gentleman. Perhaps such is the custom in your civilized England, where
manners and education are said to be carried to a superlative elegance; but not so in
poor, barbarous Russia, which a good portion of your countrymen are just now
preparing to strangle (if they can). In my country of Tartaric Cossacks and Kalmucks,
a man who sets out to insult another, does not usually hide himself behind a shield. I
am sorry to have to say this much, but you have allowed me, without the least
provocation, and upon several occasions, to be unstintedly reviled by correspondents,
and I am sure that you are too much of a man of honour to refuse me the benefit of an
“Late Madras C.S.” sides with Mrs. Showers in the insinuation that I never was
in India at all. This reminds me of a calumny of last year, originating with “spirits”
speaking through a celebrated medium at Boston, and finding credit in many quarters.
It was, that I was not a Russian, did not even speak that language, but was merely a
French adventuress. So much for the infallibility of some of the sweet “angels”!
Surely, I will neither go to the trouble of exhibiting to any of my masked detractors,
of this or the other world, my passports viséed by the Russian embassies half a dozen
times, on my way to India and back. Nor will I demean myself to show the stamped
envelopes of letters received by me in different parts of India. Such an accusation
makes me simply laugh, for my word is, surely, as good as that of anybody else. I will
only say that more’s the pity that an English officer, who was “fifteen years in the
district,” knows less of the Todas than I, who, he pretends, never was in India at all.
He calls gopura a “tower” of the pagoda. Why not the roof, or anything else, as well?
Gopura is the sacred pylon, the pyramidal gateway by which the pagoda is entered;
and yet I have repeatedly heard the people of Southern India call the pagoda itself a
gopura. It may be a careless mode of expression employed among the vulgar; but
when we come to consult the authority of the best Indian lexicographers we find it
accepted. In John Shakespear’s Hindustani-English Dictionary (edition of 1849, p.
1727) the word gopura is rendered as “an idol temple of the Hindus.”
Page 356
Has “Late Madras C.S.,” or any of his friends, ever climbed up into the interior,
so as to know who or what is concealed there? If not, then perhaps his fling at me was
a trifle premature. I am sorry to have shocked the sensitiveness of such a philological
purist, but, really, I do not see why, when speaking of the temples of the Todas—
whether they exist or not—even a Brahman Guru might not say that they had their
gopuras. Perhaps he, or some other brilliant authority in Sanskrit and other Indian
languages, will favour us with the etymology of the word? Does the first syllable, go
or gu, relate to the roundness of these “towers,” as my critic calls them (for the word
go does mean something round), or to gopa, a cowherd, which gave its name to a
Hindu caste, and was one of the names of Krishna, go-pâla, meaning the cowherd?
Let these critics carefully read Colonel Marshall’s work, and see whether the pastoral
tribe, whom he saw so much, and discovered so little about, whose worship (exoteric,
of course) is all embraced in the care of the sacred cows and buffaloes; the
distribution of the “divine fluid”—milk; and whose seeming adoration, as the
missionaries tell us, is so great for their buffaloes, that they call them the “gift of
God,” could not be said to have their gopuras, though the latter were but a cattle-pen,
a tiriêri, the mand, in short, into which the phrenological explorer crawled alone by
night with infinite pains and—neither saw nor found anything! And because he found
nothing he concludes they have no religion, no idea of God, no worship. About as
reasonable an inference as Dr. W. B. Carpenter might come to if he had crawled into
Mrs. Showers’ séance-room some night when all the “angels” and their guests had
fled, and straightway reported that among Spiritualists there are neither mediums nor
Colonel Marshall I find far less dogmatic than his admirers. Such cautious
phrases as “I believe,” “I could not ascertain,” “I believe it to be true,” and the like,
show his desire to find out the truth, but scarcely prove conclusively that he has
found it.
Page 357
At best it only comes to this, that Colonel Marshall believes one thing to be true,
and I look upon it differently. He credits his friend the missionary, and I believe my
friend the Brahman, who told me what I have written. Besides, I explicitly state in my
book (see Isis Unveiled, Vol. II, pp. 614, 615):
. . as soon as their [the Todas]* solitude was profaned by the avalanche of
civilization . . . the Todas began moving away to other parts as unknown and more
inaccessible than the Nîlgiri hills had formerly been.
The Todas, therefore, of whom my Brahman friend spoke, and whom Captain W.
L. D. O’Grady, late manager of the Madras Branch Bank at Ootacamund, tells me he
has seen specimens of, are not the degenerate remnants of the tribe whose
phrenological bumps were measured by Colonel Marshall. And yet, even what the
latter writes of these, I, from personal knowledge, affirm to be in many particulars
inaccurate. I may be regarded by my critics as over-credulous, but this is surely no
reason why I should be treated as a liar, whether by late or living Madras authorities
of the “C.S.” Neither Captain O’Grady, who was born at Madras and was for a time
stationed on the Nîlgiri Hills, nor I, recognized the individuals photographed in
Colonel Marshall’s book as Todas. Those we saw wore their dark brown hair very
long, and were much fairer than the Badagas, or any other Hindus, in neither of
which particulars do they resemble Colonel Marshall’s types. “H.M.” says:
The Todas are brown, coffee-eoloured, like most other natives.
But turning to Appleton’s New American Cyclopaedia (Vol. XII, p. 173), we
These people are of a light complexion, having strongly-marked Jewish features,
and have been supposed by many to be one of the lost tribes.
“H.M.” assures us that the places inhabited by the Todas are not infested by
venomous serpents or tigers; but the same Cyclopaedia remarks that:
* [Square brackets in this article are H.P.B.’s own.—Compiler.]
Page 358
The base of these mountains . . . is clothed with a dense forest swarming with
wild animals of all descriptions, among which elephants and tigers are numerous.
But the “Late” (defunct?—is your correspondent a disembodied angel?)
“Madras C.S.” attains to the sublimity of the ridiculous when, with biting irony in
winding up, he says:
All good spirits, of whatever degree, astral or elementary, . . . prevent his
[Captain R. F. Burton’s] ever meeting with lsis—rough might be the unveiling!
Surely—unless that military Nemesis should tax the hospitality of some
American newspaper, conducted by politicians—he could never be rougher than this
Madras Grandison! And then, the idea of suggesting that, after having contradicted
and made sport of the greatest authorities of Europe and America, to begin with Max
Müller and end with the Positivists, in both my volumes, I should be appalled by
Captain Burton, or the whole lot of captains in Her Majesty’s service—though each
carried an Armstrong gun on his shoulder and a mitrailleuse in his pocket—is
positively superb! Let them reserve their threats and terrors for my Christian
Any moderately equipped sciolist (and the more empty-headed, the easier)
might tear Isis to shreds, in the estimation of the vulgar, with his sophisms and
presumably authoritative analysis, but would that prove him to be right, and me
wrong? Let all the records of medial phenomena, rejected, falsified, slandered, and
ridiculed, and of mediums terrorized, for thirty years past, answer for me. I, at least,
am not of the kind to be bullied into silence by such tactics, as “Late Madras” may in
time discover; nor will he ever find me skulking behind a nom de plume when I have
insults to offer. I always have had, as I now have, and trust ever to retain the courage
of my opinions, however unpopular or erroneous they may be considered; and there
are not showers enough in Great Britain to quench the ardour with which I stand by
my convictions.
Page 359
There is but one way to account for the tempest which, for four months, has
raged in The Spiritualist against Colonel Olcott and myself, and that is expressed in
the familiar French proverb—"Quand on veut tuer son chien, on dit qu’il est enragé.”
New York, March 24th, 1878.
[Banner of Light, Boston, Vol. XLII, April 20,1878]
[In compliance with his request. H.P.B. translated from the Russian A. N.
Aksakoff’s article entitled “The Scientific Hypothesis Respecting Mediumistic
Phenomena” and published in the St. Petersburg Vedomosti. She added two footnotes
of her own to the translation; we include below portions of Aksakoff’s article to
which these footnotes refer.]
. . . Geometrical figures not distinguishable by our thought (similar in form, size,
and the mutual relation of their parts) should not be distinguishable by our sensuous
perception either; they must be brought into such relations with us as would make
them identical in the effects they produce upon us. This condition is satisfied by
planes (or figures of two dimensions), symmetrical figures, but it is not satisfied by
equally regular solids (figures which embrace the three dimensions). Two equal
triangles can always be made to perfectly fit each other by turning over one of them,
i.e., through a process accomplished which involves the aid of the third dimension;
but if we move these triangles in a plane only, that is to say, using but two
dimensions, we would never succeed in making them fit each other, so that one of
these would completely occupy the place of the other.
Page 360
I think that perhaps I can make Mr. Aksakoff’s meaning a little clearer by
stating the proposition in the following terms: in the case of plane figures, i.e., of two
dimensions only (length and breadth) when they are of perfect equivalence, we can
verify that equivalence to sensuous perception by the aid of the third dimension of
thickness; or otherwise expressing it, by the simple act of superposition whereby our
senses verify the equivalence; but in the case of solid bodies of perfect equivalence,
these possessing the third dimension already, it is obvious that there is no position of
superposition which will enable our sensuous perception to verify the equivalence.
This experiment in the domain of mediumship [to establish Zöllner’s hypothesis
of the existence of a fourth dimension of space] has nothing substantially new in it; it
belongs to a long series of phenomena which exhibit what is generally described as
the passage of matter through matter.
The employment of the term “dimension” to express this “passage of matter
through matter,” appears to me as likely to lead to a great confusion of ideas. It would
be made much more comprehensible to the general reader if Zollner were to apply the
term quality equally to length, breadth, thickness and permeability. But at best, the
present discussion affords one more example of the fact I have repeatedly pointed
out, that the European languages are wretchedly poor in words to express
metaphysical and psychological ideas in comparison with the Oriental tongues. The
property which we have here clumsily designated as a “fourth” dimension of space is
known throughout the whole East by appropriate and specific terms, among not only
scholars but the very “jugglers” who make boys disappear from beneath baskets. If
Western scientists would familiarize themselves a little more with the Pythagorean
Tetraktys, or even with the algebraical “unknown quantity” in its transcendental
meaning, all difficulties in the way of accepting Zollner’s hypothesis would
Page 361
[La Revue Spirite, Paris. avril, 1878]
Les Spiritualistes Saxons font assez confusion entre l`esprit et le périsprit. Peutêtre
ne distinguent-ils pas l`un de l’autre, désignant le premier par le mot âme, le
second par celui d’esprit. Les T`héosophes font le contraire; pour eux, I’esprit
proprement dit, le Nous, est l’esprit. Le périsprit ou Psyché, l’âme.
Les Théosophes n’admettent point de dogmes, c`est-à-dire d’idées, de principes
préconçus, auxquels tout doive être subordonné. Ils cherchent la vérité avec sagesse
et bonne foi, et sont disposés à l’accepter d’où qu’elle vienne, fut-ce au prix du
sacrifice de ce qu’ils ont jusqui’ici admis. Quoiqu’ils disent en ce moment, ils sont
loin de penser avoir tout résolu. Une telle prétention serait de l’omniscience, elle
serait absurde. Le jour où un nouvel Oedipe aura trouvé l’entière solution de cette
énigme des siècles: “Qu’est-ce l’homme?” ce jour là, dogmes anciens et modernes,
approximations spiritualistes elles-mêmes, comme le Sphinx antique, se precipiteront
dans l’Océan de l’oubli.
Les Théosophes, de même que les philosophes anciens et leur élève Paul, qui
disait que le corps physique était pénétré, tenu vivant par le Psyché, périsprits pensent
que l’homme est une trinite: corps, périsprit, esprit.
Les Bouddhistes qui distinguent ces trois entités, divisent encore le périsprit en
plusieurs parties. Toutefois, sur le point d’arriver à la perfection nirvana—ils
n’admettent plus guère qu’une de ces parties: l’Esprit.
Les Grecs faisaient de même, divisant le périsprit en vie et en nature passionelle,
ou Thumos. Le périsprit est donc lui-même une combinaison: la vitalite
physiologique, Bios; la nature concupiscible, Epithumia; et l’idéalité, Phren. Le
périsprit est constitué de la substance éthérée qui emplit l’univers, il dérive donc du
fluide astral cosmique, qui n’est point l’esprit; car bien qu’intangible, impalpable, ce
fluide astral est matière objective, comparativement à l’esprit.
Page 362
Par sa nature complexe, le périsprit peut s’allier assez intimement à la nature
corporelle pour échapper à l’influence morale d’une vie plus haute. De même, il peut
s’unir assez étroitement à l’esprit pour partager sa puissance, auquel cas 1 son
véhicule, l’homme physique, peut paraître un Dieu, même pendant sa vie terrestre. Si
une telle union de l’esprit et du périsprit n’existe pas, l’homme n’est point immortel
comme entité: le périsprit est tôt ou tard dissocié.
Plutarque dit qu’à la mort, Proserpine sépare le corps de l’âme (périsprit), après
quoi cette dernière devient un génie ou Daïmon, libre et indépendant. Uue seconde
dissolution est à intervenir, sous l’action du bien. Démètre sépare le périsprit de
l’esprit. Le premier se résoud, avec le temps, en particules éthérées; le second monte,
accède aux pouvoirs divins, devient graduellement un pur esprit divin.
Kapila, ainsi que tous les philosophes de l’Orient, faisait peu de cas de la nature
périspritale. C’est cette agglomération de particules grossières, émanations humaines
douées des imperfections, des faiblesses, des passions, des appétits même humains, et
pouvant, dans certaines conditions, de venir objective, que les Bouddhistes appellent
Skandhas, groupes, les Théosophes, âme, Allan Kardec, le périsprit.
Les Brahmanes et les Bouddhistes disent que l’individualité humaine n’est pas
assurée tant que l’homme n’a point quitté, avec le dernier de ces groupes, le dernier
vestige de teinte terrestre. De là leur doctrine de la métempsycose, si ridiculisée, mais
si peu comprise de nos Orientalistes eux-mêmes. La science enseigne, en effet, que
les molécules matérielles composant le corps physique de l’homme sont, par le fait de
l’évolution, replacées par la nature dans les formes physiques inférieures. Eh bien, les
Bouddhistes ne disent pas autre chose des particules du corps astral; ils prétendent
que les groupes semi-materiels du périsprit sont appropriés à l’évolution des formes
astrales inférieures, et y accèdent suivant leul degré d’épuration. Par conséquent, tant
qu’un homme désincarné contient une seule particule de ces skandhas, des portions
de son périsprit entrent ultérieurement dans le corps astral des plantes et des animaux.
Page 363
Et si l’homme astral est tellement matériel que Démètre ne puisse trouver une
parcelle d’esprit, alors l’individu est dissous, piece à pièce, dans le creuset de
l’évolution. C’est ce que les Hindous figurent par un passage de 1000 années de
durée dans le corps impur des animaux. Les Théosophes sont d’accord, pour le fond,
avec ces données.
Pour les Théosophes, les grands caractères, les génies, les poètes, artistes
véritables, sont inspirés spirituellement, et ne sont pas—en général du moins—de
simples Médiums, instruments passifs dans les mains de leurs guides. Ce sont, au
contraire, des âmes (périsprits) richement illuminées, c’est-a-dire possédant l’élément
esprit à un haut degré, et pouvant dès lors collaborer avec les Esprits purs, à la
spiritualisation, à l’élévation de l’humanité.
En ce qui concerne les phénomènes du périsprit et de la médiumité, nous
pensons que le Médium purement passif ne peut discerner les bons esprits des
mauvais, qu’il lui faut pour cela devenir médiateur conscient. Nous savons aussi que,
si l’homme incarné, fut-il adepte éminent, ne peut lutter en puissance avec les purs
Esprits qui, étant libérés de leurs skandhas, sont devenus subjectifs aux sens
physiques, il peut du moins égaler et même surpasser en matière de phénoménalité,
ce que produisent les Médiums ordinaires.
L’enfant, c’est-à-dire un homme non entièrement développé, qui vient à passer
dans l’autre monde, peut-il plus y exister, dans des conditions préparées pour les
types perfectionnés de son espèce, que la plante ou l’animal?
L’enfant ne possède pour ainsi dire pas encore d’esprit; il n’est qu’âme, et
l’éducation n’affecte que sa nature astrales n’a trait qu’aux choses externes.
Le Cycle de l’homme n’est pas complet tant qu’il n’a point passé par la vie
terrestre. Aucun stage d’épreuve ni d’expérience ne peut être sauté: il faut avoir été
homme avant que d’arriver Esprit pur.
L’enfant mort est donc une faillite de la nature; il doit revivre de nouveau; le
même périsprit subit alors l’épreuve interrompue, à l’aide d’une autre naissance. De
même pour un idiot de naissance.
Page 364
Ce sont les seuls cas de réincarnation humaine.*
Si l’enfant, en effet, qui n’est qu’une dualite, était immortel, pourquois les
animaux ne le seraient-ils pas? La trinité seule survit.
A la mort, le périsprit devient le corps extrême, au-dedans se forme un corps
plus éthére, et l’ensemble est plus ou moins ombragé par l’Esprit.
Cependant, les Elémentaires du corps humain ne sont pas toujours dissociés, à
la mort corporelle; il se peut que, par un suprême effort, ils puissent retenir du 3-ème
élement, et de la sorte, lentement, avec peine, monter de sphère en sphère, rejetant à
chaque passage le plus lourd de leur vêtements, revêtant de plus radieuses
enveloppes, et débarrassés de toutes particules materielles arriver enfin à la perfection
devenir des unités, des Dieux.
Nous avons dit que l’Homme qui n’a pas une étincelle d’esprit divin pour le
sauver, apres sa mort, ne se distingue guere des animaux.
Il y a de tristes cas de ce genre, non seulement parmi les dépravés, mais aussi
parmi les aveugles ou les négateurs quand même. C’est, en effet, la volonté humaine,
son pouvoir souverain qui règle en partie la destinée, et si un homme s’obstine à
croire à l’annihilation après la mort, elle a lieu. La détermination de la vie physique,
du genre de la mort, dépend bien souvent de la volonté. Il est des gens qui échappent,
par la seule énergie de leur résolution aux étreintes de la mort, tandis que d’autres
succombent à d’insignifiantes maladies. Or, ce qu’un homme fait de son corps, il peut
le faire de son corps astral, c’est-à-dire de son périsprit désincarné.
* [Consult in this connection Isis Unveiled, Vol. I, pp. 346, 347, 351. —Compiler.]
Page 365
[La Revue Spirite, Paris, April, 1878]
[Translation of the foregoing original French text]
The Saxon Spiritualists are rather confused between the spirit and the périsprit.
Perhaps they do not distinguish the one from the other, describing the first by the
word soul, the second by spirit. Theosophists do the opposite; for them the spirit
properly is Nous, the spirit. The périsprit or Psychê, is the soul.
Theosophists accept no dogmas, i.e., preconceived ideas or principles, to
which everything must be subordinated. They seek truth with wisdom and in good
faith, and are willing to accept it from whatever source, even at the cost of the
sacrifice of what they have hitherto accepted. Whatever they may teach at the present
moment, they are far from thinking that they have settled everything. Such a claim
would be that of omniscience; it would he ridiculous. On the day when a new
Oedipus shall have found d the complete solution of that riddle of the ages: “What is
man?" on that day the ancient and modern doctrines, the approximations of the
Spiritualists themselves, will, like the ancient Sphinx, be flung into the ocean of
Theosophists, like the ancient philosophers and their pupil Paul, who said that the
physical body was penetrated and kept alive by the périsprit, Psychê, consider man as
a trinity: body, périsprit, spirit.
The Buddhists, who distinguish these three entities, divide the périsprit still
further into several parts. Nevertheless, on the point of approaching perfection—
Nirvâna—they hardly admit more than one of these parts: the Spirit.
The Greeks did the same, dividing the périsprit into life and the passional
nature, or Thumos. The périsprit is thus itself a combination: the physiological
vitality, Bios; the concupiscible nature, Epithumia; and the ideality, Phren.
Page 366
The périsprit is constituted of the ethereal substance that fills the universe, hence it is
derived from the cosmic astral fluid, which is not spirit at all, because although
intangible, impalpable, this astral fluid is objective matter as compared with spirit.
Owing to its complex nature, the périsprit can ally itself intimately enough with the
corporeal nature, to escape the moral influence of a higher life. In the same way it can
unite closely enough with the spirit to partake of its potency, in which case its
vehicle, the physical man, can appear as a God, even during his terrestrial lifetime. If
such a union, of the spirit and the périsprit, does not take place, a man does not
become immortal as an entity: the périsprit is sooner or later dissociated.
Plutarch says that at death, Proserpine separates the body from the soul
(périsprit), after which the latter becomes a genius or Daïmon, free and independent.
A second dissolution has to occur, under the action of the Good. Demeter separates
the périsprit from the spirit. The first in time is resolved into ethereal particles; the
second ascends, assimilates with the divine powers, and gradually becomes a pure
divine spirit.
Kapila, like all the Oriental philosophers, made little of the perisprital nature. It
is this agglomeration of gross particles, of human emanations teeming with
imperfections, weaknesses, passions, the very human appetites, able, under certain
conditions, to become objective, that the Buddhists call Skandhas, groups, the
Theosophists, soul, Allan Kardec, the périsprit.
The Brâhmanas and the Buddhists say that the human individuality is not secure
so long as man has not left behind with the last of these groups, the remaining vestige
of terrestrial coloring. Hence their doctrine of metempsychosis, so much ridiculed but
so little understood by our Orientalists themselves. Science teaches, indeed, that the
material molecules that compose the physical body of man are, by the process of
evolution, replaced by Nature into lower physical forms. Well, the Buddhists say the
very same in regard to the particles of the astral body; they assert that the semimaterial
groups of the périsprit are appropriated to the evolution of lower astral forms
and unite with them according to their degree of refinement.
Page 367
Consequently, so long as a discarnate man contains a single particle of these
skandhas, some parts of his périsprit will have to enter the astral bodies of plants or
animals. So if the astral man is composed of such material that Demeter cannot find a
particle of spirit, the individual is dissolved, bit by bit, in the crucible of evolution.
This is what the Hindus typify by a period of a thousand years spent in the impure
bodies of animals. Theosophists are in essential agreement with this idea.
To Theosophists, the great characters, the geniuses, the poets, the true artists, are
spiritually inspired, and are not —at least in general—simply mediums, passive
instruments in the hands of their guides. They are, on the contrary, souls (périsprits)
richly illuminated, i.e., possessing the spiritual element in a high degree, and
therefore able to collaborate with pure Spirits for the spiritualization and elevation of
In what relates to the phenomena of the périsprit and of mediumship, we believe
that the purely passive medium cannot discern good spirits from bad, that to do so he
must become a conscious mediator. We also know that though the incarnated man,
even if a high adept, cannot compete in power with pure Spirits, who, being liberated
from their skandhas have become subjective to the physical senses, they can at least
equal and even surpass in the matter of phenomenalism what is produced by ordinary
Can a child, i.e., a not completely developed man, who passes into the other
world, exist there in the conditions prepared for the perfected types of his species,
any more than a plant or an animal?
The child does not yet possess a spirit, so to speak; he is merely a soul, and his
education has only affected his astral nature, has only dealt with externals.
The cycle of man is not complete so long as he has not passed through terrestrial
life. Not one stage of trial or experience can be skipped; he must have been a man
before he reaches the state of pure Spirit.
Page 368
A dead child then is a failure of nature; it must be born again; the same périsprit must
in such a case pass through the interrupted trial by means of another birth. The same
for the congenital idiot. These are the only cases of human reincarnation.
If the child, indeed, who is only a duality, were immortal, why not the animals
also? The triad alone survives.
At death, the périsprit becomes the outermost body; within it is formed a more
ethereal body, and the whole is more or less overshadowed by the Spirit.
The elementaries of the human body are, however, not always dissociated at
bodily death; it may happen that by a supreme effort they are able to retain some of
the third element, and in that way, slowly and with trouble, to ascend from sphere to
sphere, throwing off at each step the heavier garment, and becoming clothed in more
radiant vestures; finally arriving at perfection, disencumbered of every material
particle, and becoming unities, Gods.
We said that the man who has not one spark of the divine spirit to save him after
death can scarcely he distinguished from the animals.
There are some sad cases of this kind, not alone among the depraved but also
among the willfully blind and the out-and-out deniers. It is, indeed, the will of man,
his sovereign power, that partly rules his destiny, and if a man persists in believing in
annihilation after death, it will take place. The conditions of the physical life, the kind
of death, very often depend on the will.
There are some persons who merely by the force of their resolution, escape the
embrace of death, while others yield to trifling maladies. Now, what a man can do
with his body, he can also do with his astral body, i.e., with his discarnated perisprit.
Page 369
Of the many remarkable characters of this century, Ghafur was one of the most
conspicuously so.†
If there be truth in the Eastern doctrine that souls, powerful whether for good or
bad, who had not time in one existence to work out their plans, are reincarnated, the
fierceness of their yearnings to continue on earth thrusting them back into the current
of their attractions, then Ghafur was a re-birth of that Felice Peretti, who is known in
history as Pope Sixtus V, of crafty and odious memory. Both were born in the lowest
class of society, being ignorant peasant boys and beginning life as herdsmen. Both
reached the apex of power through craft and stealth and by imposing upon the
superstitions of the masses. Sixtus, author of mystical books and himself a
practitioner of the forbidden sciences to satisfy his lust for power and ensure
impunity, became Inquisitor-General.
* [This article appeared most likely in the first issue of the New York Echo which was started by
Charles Sotheran. The cutting of it is pasted in H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. Vll, pp. 101-102. An
introductory note written by the Editor is dated April 30, 1878, which is the only clue as to the date
of the article, although Col. Olcott states in his Diaries that the first issue of the Echo came out May
3rd. The journal is described as “The Only Secret Society Paper in the World. ‘ It was short lived
and its files have never been located.]
† [The inhabitants of Swat—a tract on the Peshawâr border of the North-West Frontier Province of
India—are a clan of Yusafzai Pathâns. They are Suni Mohammedans. As their religious leader, the
Akhund of Swat, Abdul Ghafur, born in 1794, ruled the tribe for the last thirty years of his life, and
died in 1877. He was succeeded by his son Mian Gul, who, however, never possessed the same
influence as his father. —Compiler.]
Page 370
Made Pope, he hurled his anathemas alike against Elizabeth of England, the King of
Navarre, and other important personages. Abdul Ghafur, endowed with an iron will,
had educated himself without colleges or professors except through association with
the “wise men” of Cuttack. He was as well versed in the Arabic and Persian literature
of alchemy and astrology as Sixtus was in Aristotle, and like him knew how to
fabricate mesmerized talismans and amulets containing either life or death for those
to whom they were presented. Each held millions of devotees under the subjection of
their psychological influence, though both were more dreaded than beloved.
Ghafur had been a warrior and an ambitious leader of fanatics, but becoming a
dervish and finally a Pope, so to say, his blessing or curse made him as effectually the
master of the Amîrs and other Mussulmans as Sixtus was of the Catholic potentates
of Europe.
Only the salient features of his career are known to Christendom. Watched, as
he may have been, his private life, ambitions, aspirations for temporal as well as
religious power, are almost a sealed book. But the one certain thing is, that he was the
founder and chief of nearly every secret society worth speaking of among
Mussulmans, and the dominant spirit in all the rest. His apparent antagonism to the
Wahhabees was but a mask, and the murderous hand that struck Lord Mayo was
certainly guided by the old Abdul. The Biktashee Dervishes* and the howling,
dancing, and other Moslem religious mendicants recognize his supremacy as far
above that of the Sheikh-ul-Islam of the faithful. Hardly a political order of any
importance issued from Constantinople or Teheran—heretics though the Persians are
—without his having a finger in the pie directly or indirectly. As fanatical as Sixtus,
but more cunning yet, if possible, instead of giving direct orders for the extermination
of the Huguenots of Islam, the Wahhabees, he directed his curses and pointed his
finger only at those among them whom he found in his way, keeping on the best,
though secret, terms with the rest.
* To this day no Biktashee would be recognized as such unless he could claim possession of a
certain medal with the seal of this “high-pontiff” of all the Dervishes, whether they belong to one
sect or the other.
Page 371
The title of Nasr-ed-Dîn (defender of the faith) he impartially applied to both the
Sultan and the Shah, though one is a Sunnite and the other a Shiah. He sweetened the
stronger religious intolerance of the Osman dynasty by adding to the old title of Nasred-
Dîn those of Saif-ed-Dîn (Scimitar of Faith) and Amîr-al-mu’minîn (Prince of the
Faithful). Every Amîr-al-Sûrî, or leader of the sacred caravan of pilgrims to Mecca,
brought or sent messages to, and received advice and instructions from, Abdul, the
latter in the shape of mysterious oracles, for which was left the full equivalent in
money, presents and other offerings, as the Catholic pilgrims have recently done at
In 1847-48 the Prince Mirza, uncle of the young Shah and ex-governor of a great
province in Persia, appeared in Tiflis, seeking Russian protection at the hands of
Prince Vorontzov, Viceroy of the Caucasus.* Having helped himself to the crown
jewels and ready money in the treasury he had run away from the jurisdiction of his
loving nephew, who was anxious to put out his eyes. Popular rumour asserted that his
reason for what he had done was that the great dervish, Akhund, had thrice appeared
to him in dreams, prompting him to take what he had and share his booty with the
protectors of the faith of his principal wife (he brought twelve with him to Tiflis), a
native of Kabul. The secret, though, perhaps, indirect influence he exercised on the
Begum of Bhopal, during the Sepoy rebellion of 1857, was a mystery only to the
English, whom the old schemer knew so well how to hoodwink. During his long
career of Machiavellism friendly with the British, and yet striking them constantly in
secret; venerated as a new prophet by millions of orthodox, as well as heretic
Mussulmans; managing to preserve his influence over friend and foe, the old
“Teacher” had one enemy whom he feared, for he knew that no amount of craft
would ever win it over to his side.
* [Prince Mihail Semyonovich Vorontzov (1782-1856). Viceroy of the Caucasus, 1844-56.—
Page 372
This enemy was the once mighty nation of the Sikhs, ex-sovereign rulers of the
Punjab and masters of the Peshawar Valley. Reduced from their high estate, this
warrior people are now under the rule of a single Mahârâja—of Patiala—who is
himself the helpless vassal of the British. From the beginning the Akhund had
continually encountered the Sikhs in his path. Scarce would he feel himself conqueror
over one obstacle, before his hereditary enemy would appear between him and the
realization of his hopes. If the Sikhs remained faithful to the British in 1875, it was
not through hearty loyalty or political convictions, so much as through sheer
opposition to the Mohammedans, whom they knew to be secretly prompted by the
Since the days of the great Nanak, of the Kshatriya caste, founder of the Sikh
Brotherhood in the second half of the fifteenth century, these brave and warlike tribes
have ever been the thorn in the side of the Mogul dynasty, the terror of the Moslems
of India. Originating, as we may say, in a religious Brotherhood, whose object was to
make away alike with Islamism, Brâhmanism, and other isms, including later
Christianity, this sect evolved a pure monotheism in the abstract idea of an everunknown
Principle, and elaborated it into the doctrine of the “Brotherhood of Man.”
In their view, we have but one Father-Mother Principle, with “neither form, shape,
nor colour,” and we ought all to be, if we are not, brothers irrespective of distinctions
of race or colour. The sacerdotal Brâhman, fanatical in his observance of dead-letter
forms, thus became in the opinion of the Sikh as much the enemy of truth as the
Mussulman wallowing in a sensual heaven with his houris, the joss-worshipping
Buddhist grinding out prayers at his wheel, or yet the Roman Catholic adoring his
jewelled Madonnas, whose complexion the priests change from white to brown and
black to suit climates and prejudices. Later on, Arjan, son of Ramdas, the fourth in
the succession after Nanak, gathering together the doctrines of the founder and his
successor Angad, brought out a sacred volume, called Adi-Granth, and largely
supplemented it with selections from forty-five Sûtras of the Jainas.
Page 373
While adopting equally the religious figures of the Vedas and Koran, after sifting
them and explaining their symbolism, the Adi-Granth yet presents a greater similarity
of ideas respecting the most elaborate metaphysical conceptions with those of the
Jaina school of Gurus. The notions of Astrology, or the influence of the starry spheres
upon ourselves, were evidently adopted from that most prominent school of antiquity.
This will be readily ascertained by comparing the commentaries of Abhâyâdeva Sûrî
upon the original forty-five Sûtras in the Magadhi or Balabasha language* with the
Adi-Granth. An old Jaina Guru, who is said to have drawn the horoscope of Ranjit
Singh, at the time of his greatest power, had foretold the downfall of the kingdom of
Lahore. It was the learned Arjan who retired into Amritsar, changed the sect into a
politico-religious community, and instituted within the same another and more
esoteric body of Gurus, scholars and metaphysicians, of which he became sole chief.
He died in prison, under torture, by the order of Aurungzeb, into whose hands he had
fallen, at the beginning of the seventeenth century. His son Govinda, a Guru
(religious teacher) of great renown, vowed revenge against the race of his father’s
murderers, and after various changes of fortune the Afghans were finally driven from
the Puñjab by the Sikhs in 1767. This triumph only made their hatred more bitter still,
and from that moment until the death of Ranjit Singh, in 1839, we find them
constantly aiming their blows at the Moslems. Mahan Singh, the father of Ranjit, had
set off the Sikhs into twelve misls or divisions, each having its own chief (Sirdar),
whose secret Council of State consisted of learned Gurus. Among these were Masters
in spiritual Science, and they might, if they had had a mind, have exhibited as
astonishing “miracles” and divine legerdemain as the old Mussulman Akhund.
* This valuable work is now being republished by Ookerdhaboy Shewjee, and has been received by
the Theosophical Society from the Editor through the President of the Bombay branch. When
finished it will be the first edition of the Jaina Bible. Sûtra-Sangraha or Vihiva Pûnnûttee Sûtra, in
existence, as all their sacred books are kept in secret by the Jainas.
Page 374
He knew it well, and for this reason dreaded them even more than he hated them for
his defeat and that of his Amîr by Ranjit Singh.
One highly dramatic incident in the life of the “Pope of Saidu” is the following
well-authenticated case, which was much commented upon in his part of India about
twenty years ago. One day, in 1858, when the Akhund, squatting on his carpet, was
distributing amulets, blessings and prophecies among his pious congregation of
pilgrims, a tall Hindu, who had silently approached and mingled in the crowd without
having been noticed, suddenly addressed him thus: “Tell me, prophet, thou who
prophesiest so well for others, whether thou knowest what will be thine own fate, and
that of the ‘Defender of the Faith,’ thy Sultan of Stamboul, twenty years hence?”
The old Ghafur, overcome with violent surprise, stared at his interlocutor, but no
answer came. In recognizing the Sikh he seemed to have lost all power of speech, and
the crowd was under a spell.
“If not,” continued the intruder, “then I will tell thee. Twenty years more and
your ‘Prince of the Faithful’ will fall by the hand of an assassin of his own house.
Two old men, one the Dalai Lama of the Christians, the other the great prophet of the
Moslems—thyself—will be simultaneously crushed under the heel of death. Then,
the first hour will strike of the downfall of those twin foes of truth—Christianity and
Islam. The first, as the more powerful, will survive the second, but both will soon
crumble into fragmentary sects, which will mutually exterminate each other’s faith.
See, thy followers are powerless, and I might kill thee now, but thou art in the hands
of Destiny, and that knows its own hour.”
Before a hand could be lifted the speaker had disappeared. This incident of itself
sufficiently proves that the Sikhs might have assassinated Abdul Ghafur at any time
had they chosen so to do, and it may be that The Mayfair Gazette, which in June
1877, prophetically observed that the rival pontiffs of Rome and Swat might die
simultaneously, had heard from some “old Indian” this story, which the writer also
heard from an informant at Lahore.
Page 375
[Printed for the Information of Correspondents] *
I. The Society was founded at the City of New York, in the year 1875.
II. Its officers are a President; two Vice-Presidents; a Corresponding Secretary; a
Recording Secretary; a Treasurer; a Librarian; and Councillors.
III. At first it was an open body, but, later, it was reorganized on the principle of
secrecy, experience having demonstrated the advisability of such a change.
* [This is the New York Circular drafted mainly by Colonel H. S. Olcott and which was ready for
distribution on May 3rd, 1878. A packet of these was given to Dr. H. J. Billing to take to London,
and another to Countess Lydia de Pashkoff to take to Japan. As Col. Olcott points out himself (Old
Diary Leaves, I, 399-400): “In drafting the New York circular it occurred to me that the membership
of, and supervising entities behind, the Society would be naturally grouped in three divisions, viz.,
new members not detached from worldly interests; pupils, like myself, who had withdrawn from the
same or were ready to do so; and the adepts themselves, who, without being actually members,
were at least connected with us and concerned in our work as a potential agency for the doing of
spiritual good to the world. With H.P.B.’s concurrence I defined these three groups, calling them
sections, and sub-dividing each into three degrees. This, of course, was in the hope and expectation
that we should have more practical guidance in adjusting the several grades of members than we
had had-— or have since had, I may add.”
Col. Olcott specifically states that the passage beginning: “As the highest development . . .” and
ending with “unseen universes” was written by H.P.B. The important words: “the Brotherhood of
Humanity” were here used for the first time, and the Circular!ar is devoid of any mention of
Spiritualism or phenomena.
There can he very little doubt of the fact that the inspiring guidance of the Adepts was back of the
actual wording of this Circular. It is a document of primary importance in the history of the
Theosophical Movement.—Compiler.]
Page 376
IV. Its Fellows are known as Active, Corresponding and Honorary. Only those
are admitted who are in sympathy with its objects, and sincerely desire to aid in the
promotion of the same.
V. Its Fellowship is divided into three Sections, and each Section into three
Degrees. All candidates for active fellowship are required to enter as probationers, in
the Third Degree of the Third Section, and no fixed time is specified in which the
new Fellow can advance from any lower to a higher degree; all depends upon merit.
To be admitted into the highest degree, of the first section, the Theosophist must have
become freed of every leaning toward any one form of religion in preference to
another. He must be free from all exacting obligations to society, politics and family.
He must be ready to lay down his life, if necessary, for the good of Humanity, and of
a brother Fellow of whatever race, color or ostensible creed. He must renounce wine,
and every other description of intoxicating beverages, and adopt a life of strict
chastity. Those who have not yet wholly disenthralled themselves from religious
prejudice, and other forms of selfishness, but have made a certain progress towards
self-mastery and enlightenment, belong in the Second Section. The Third Section is
probationary: its members can leave the Society at will, although the obligation
assumed at entrance will continually bind them to absolute secrecy as to what may
have been communicated under restrictions.
VI. The objects of the Society are various. It influences its fellows to acquire an
intimate knowledge of natural law, especially its occult manifestations.
Page 377
As the highest development, physically and spiritually, on earth, of the Creative
Cause, man should aim to solve the mystery of his being. He is the procreator of his
species, physically, and having inherited the nature of the unknown but palpable
Cause of his own creation, must possess in his inner, psychical self, this creative
power in lesser degree. He should, therefore, study to develop his latent powers, and
inform himself respecting the laws of magnetism, electricity and all other forms of
force, whether of the seen or unseen universes. The Society teaches and expects its
fellows to personally exemplify the highest morality and religious aspiration; to
oppose the materialism of science and every form of dogmatic theology, especially
the Christian, which the Chiefs of the Society regard as particularly pernicious; to
make known among Western nations the long-suppressed facts about Oriental
religious philosophies, their ethics, chronology, esoterism, symbolism; to counteract,
as far as possible, the efforts of missionaries to delude the so-called “Heathen” and
“Pagans” as to the real origin and dogmas of Christianity and the practical effects of
the latter upon public and private character in so-called civilized countries; to
disseminate a knowledge of the sublime teachings of that pure esoteric system of the
archaic period, which are mirrored in the oldest Vedas, and in the philosophy of
Gautama Buddha, Zoroaster and Confucius; finally, and chiefly, to aid in the
institution of a Brotherhood of Humanity, wherein all good and pure men, of every
race, shall recognize each other as the equal effects (upon this planet)* of one
Uncreate Universal, Infinite, and Everlasting Cause.
VII. Persons of either sex are eligible.
VIII. There are branches of the parent .Society in several countries of the East
and West.
IX. No fees are exacted, but those who choose may contribute towards the
Society’s expenses. No applicant is received because of his wealth or influence, nor
rejected because of his poverty or obscurity.
Correspondence with the parent body may be addressed to “The Theosophical
Society, New York.”
* [This parenthesis was written in by H.P.B., according to Col. Olcott’s statement.—Compiler.]
Page 378
[In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. VII, pp. 113-14, there is a cutting of three columns from
the New York Herald of May 13, 1878. It is an article written, according to H.P.B’s
own notation, by Col. H. S. Olcott, and entitled “Muzzling the Indian Press.” Its
subtitle is: “The Vernacular Press Act for the Suppression of Native Newspapers—
Passed at a Single Sitting of the Viceregal Legislative Council, March 14, 1878.”
At the end of this cutting, H.P.B. pasted the colored picture of a lion caught in a
net, and a mouse gnawing away the net, and wrote the following:]
The despised MOUSE is not always either on hand or willing to save the Lion—
especially when the beast has too been for so long weaving himself the nets in which
he got caught at last.
Page 379
Christendom sends its missionaries to Heathendom at an expense of millions
drained from the pockets of would-be pious folks, who court respectability.
Thousands of homeless and penniless old men, women and children are allowed to
starve for lack of funds, for the sake, perhaps, of one converted “heathen.” All the
spare money of the charitable is absorbed by these dead-head travelling agents of the
Christian Church. What is the result? Visit the prison cells of so-called Christian
lands, crammed with delinquents who have been led on to felony by the weary path
of starvation, and you will have the answer. Read in the daily papers the numerous
accounts of executions, and you will find that modern Christianity offers, perhaps
unintentionally but none the less surely, a premium for murder and other heinous
crimes. Is anyone prepared to deny the assertion? Remember that, while many a
respectable unbeliever dies in his bed with the comfortable assurance from his next of
kin, and good friends in general, that he is going to hell, the red-handed criminal has
but to believe at his eleventh hour that the blood of the Saviour can and will save
him, to receive the guarantee of his spiritual adviser that he will find himself when
launched into eternity in the bosom of Christ, in heaven, and playing upon the
traditional harp.
* [This article was written by H.P.B. for the New York Echo, onJune 2, 1878, as appears from Col.
Olcott’s entry of that date in his Diaries. The Echo was a short lived publication started by Charles
Sotheran, one of the original Founders of the T.S., and the files of which do not seem to be
accessible, in spite of a wide-spread search. Col. Olcott’s Diaries also mention the fact that the first
issue of this Journal came out May 3, 1878, or at least was received by him on that date. The actual
date on which the present article appeared in print is snot definitely known, although it must have
been sometime in June of 1878. Its text is copied from the cutting pasted in H.P.B.’s Scrapbook,
Vol. VIII, pp. 143-44, now in the Adyar Archives.—Compiler.]
Page 380
Why, then, should any Christian deny himself the pleasure and profit of
robbing, or even murdering, his richer neighbor? And such a doctrine is being
promulgated among the heathen at the cost of an annual expenditure of millions.
But, in her eternal wisdom, Nature provides antidotes against moral as well as
against mineral and vegetable poisons. There are people who do not content
themselves with preaching grandiloquent discourses, they act. If such books as
Higgins’ Anacalypsis, Inman’s Ancient and Pagan Christian Symbolism, and that
extraordinary work of an anonymous English author—a Bishop, it is whispered—
entitled Supernatural Religion,* cannot awaken responsive echoes among the
ignorant masses, who do not read books, other means can be, and are resorted to—
means more effectual and which will bring fruit in the future, if hitherto prevented by
the crushing hand of ecclesiastical and monarchical despotism. Those whom the
written proofs of the fictitious character of Biblical authority cannot reach, may be
saved by the spoken word. And this work of disseminating the truth among the more
ignorant classes is being evidently prosecuted by an army of devoted scholars and
teachers, simultaneously in India and America.
The Theosophical Society has been of late so much spoken about; such idle
tales have been circulated about it—its members being sworn to secrecy and hitherto
unable, even if willing, to proclaim the truth about it—that the public may be
gratified to know, at least, about one portion of its work. This much, we are now
permitted to do, and we embrace the opportunity with alacrity, for, unlike our
antagonists, the Christians, we are disposed to declare open war and not resort to
forgery, intrigue and Machiavellism to accomplish our ends.
* [Walter Richard Cassels, 1826 1907. Vide Vol. VI, pp. 430-31.]
Page 381
The Theosophical Society means, if it cannot rescue Christians from modern
Christianity, at least to aid in saving the “heathen” from its influence. It is now in
organized affiliation with the Ârya Samâj of India, its Western representative, and, so
to say, under the order of its chiefs. A younger Society than the Brâhmo Samâj, it was
instituted to save the Hindus from exoteric idolatries, Brahmanism and Christian
The purely Theistic movement connected with the Brâhmo Samâj had its origin
in the same idea. It began early in the present century, but spasmodically and with
interruption, and only took concrete shape under the leadership of Babu Keshub
Chunder Sen in 1858. Rammohun Roy, who may be termed the combined Fénelon
and Thomas Paine of Hindustan, was its parent, his first church having been
organized shortly before his death in 1833. One of the greatest and most acute of
controversial writers that our century has produced, his works ought to be translated
and circulated in every civilized land. At his death, the work of the Brahmo Samâj
was interrupted. As Miss Collett says, in her Brâhmo Year Book for 1878, it was only
in October, 1839, that Debendra Nath Tagore founded the Tattvabodhini-Sabhâ (or
Society for the Knowledge of Truth), which lasted for twenty years, and did much to
arouse the energies and form the principles of the young church of the Brâhmo
Samâj. But, exoteric or open religion as it is now, it must have been conducted at first
much on the principles of the Secret Societies, as we are informed that Keshub
Chunder Sen, a resident of Calcutta and a pupil of the Presidency College, who had
long before quit the orthodox Brâhmanical Church and was searching for a purely
Theistic religion, “had never heard of the Brâhmo Samâj before 1858” (see The
Theistic Annual, 1878, p. 45). Since then the Brâhmo Samâj, which he then joined,
has flourished and become more popular every day. We now find it with Samâjes
established in many provinces and cities. At least, we learn that in May 1877, “fifty
Samâjes have notified their adhesion to the Society and eight of them have appointed
their representatives. Native missionaries of the Theistic religion oppose the Christian
missionaries and the Orthodox Brâhmans, and the work is going on lively. So much
for the Brâhmo movement.”
Page 382
And now, with regard to the Arya Samâj, The Indian; Tribune of Allahabad uses
the following language in speaking of its founder:
The first quarter of the sixteenth century was no more an age of reformation in
Europe than the last of the 19th is in India. Similar causes to those which had
operated to bring about a mighty reformation in Europe are, at this moment, working,
in India. From amongst its own “Benedictines,” Swami Dyanand Saraswati has
arisen, who, unlike other reformers, does not wish to set up a new religion of his own,
but asks his countrymen to go back to the pristine purity and Theism of their Vedic
religion. After preaching his views in Bombay, Poona, Calcutta, and the N.W.
Provinces, he came to the Punjab, last year, and here it is that he found the most
congenial soil. It was in the land of the five rivers, on the banks of the Indus, that the
Vedas were first compiled. It was the Punjab that gave birth to a Nanak. And it is the
Punjab that is making such efforts for a revival of Vedic learning and its doctrines.
And wherever Swami Dyanand goes, his splendid physique, his manly bearing, his
erudite discourses, his thundering eloquence, and his incisive logic bear down all
opposition. People rise up and say: We shall remain no longer in this state of
ignorance, we shall think and act for ourselves, we have had enough of a crafty
priesthood and a demoralizing idolatry, and we shall tolerate them no longer. We shall
wipe off the ugliness of ages, and try to shine forth in the original radiance and
effulgence of our Aryan ancestors.
The Swami is a most highly honoured Fellow of the Theosophical Society, takes
a deep interest in its proceedings, and The Indian Spectator of Bombay, April 14th,
1878, spoke by the book when it said that the work of Pandit Dyanand “bears
intimate relation to the work of the Theosophical Society.”
While the members of the Brâhmo Samâj may be designated as the Lutheran
Protestants of orthodox Brâhmanism, the disciples of the Swami Dyanand should be
compared to those learned mystics, the Gnostics, who had the key to those earlier
writings which, later, were worked over into the Christian gospels and various
patristic literature. As the above-named pre-Christian sects understood the true
esoteric meaning of the Chrêstos allegory, which is now materialized into the Jesus of
flesh, so the disciples of the learned and Holy Swami are taught to discriminate
between the written form and the spirit of the word preached in the Vedas.
Page 383
And this is the principal point of difference between the Ârya Samâj and the Brâhmos
who, as it would seem, believe in a personal God and repudiate the Vedas, while the
Âryas see an everlasting Principle, an impersonal Cause in the great “Soul of the
universe” rather than a personal Being, and accept the Vedas as the supreme
authority, though not of divine origin. But we may better quote in elucidation of the
subject what the President of the Bombay Ârya Samâj, also a Fellow of the
Theosophical Society, Mr. Hurrychund Chintamon, says in a recent letter to our
Pandit Dyanand maintains that as it is now universally acknowledged that the
Vedas are the oldest books of antiquity, if they contain the truth and nothing but the
truth in an unmutilated state, and nothing new can be found in other works of later
date, why should we not accept the Vedas as a guide for Humanity? . . . A revealed
book or revelation is understood to mean one of two things, viz: (1) a book already
written by some invisible hand and thrown into the world; or (2) a work written by
one or more men while they were in their highest state of mental lucidity, acquired by
profound meditation upon the problems of who man is, whence he came, whither he
must go, and by what means he may emancipate himself from worldly delusions and
sufferings. The latter hypothesis may be regarded as the more rational and correct.
Our Brother Hurrychund here describes those superior men whom we know as
Adepts. He adds:
The ancient inhabitants of a place near Thibet, and adjoining a lake called
Mansovara*, were first called Devneggury (Devanagari) or godlike people. Their
written characters were also called Devneggury or Balbadha letters. A portion of them
migrated to the North and settled there, and afterwards spread towards the South,
while others went to the West. All these emigrants styled themselves Aryans, or
noble, pure, and good men, as they considered that a pure gift had been made to
humanity from the “Pure Alone.” These lofty souls were the authors of the Vedas.”
* [Actually Mânasa-sarovara.—Compiler.]
Page 384
What more reasonable than the claim that such Scriptures, emanating from such
authors, should contain, for those who are able to penetrate the meaning that lies half
concealed under the dead letter, all the wisdom which it is allowed to men to acquire
on earth? The Chiefs of the Arya Samâj discredit “miracles,” discountenance
superstition and all violation of natural law, and teach the purest form of Vedic
Philosophy. Such are the allies of the Theosophical Society. They have said to us:
“Let us work together for the good of mankind,” and—we will.
[The cutting of this article is pasted in H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. VII, p. 140, and
the text is printed in a lay-out similar to an article by S. Watson, dated May 28, 1878,
and published in the Voice of Truth, of Memphis, Saturday, June 1st. There is no
further identification of its actual source or date.]
As it is claimed to be unphilosophical to enquire into first causes, scientists now
occupy themselves with considering their physical effects. The field of scientific
investigation is therefore bounded by physical nature. When once its limits are
reached, enquiry must stop, and their work be recommenced. With all due respect to
our learned men, they are like the squirrel upon its revolving wheel, for they are
doomed to turn their “matter” over and over again. Science is a mighty potency, and
it is not for us pigmies to question her. But the “scientists” are not themselves science
embodied any more than the men of our planet are the planet itself. We have neither
the right to demand, nor the power to compel, our “modern-day philosopher” to
accept without challenge a geographical description of the dark side of the moon.
But, if in some lunar cataclysm one of her inhabitants should be hurled thence into
the attraction of our atmosphere, and land, safe and sound, at Dr. Carpenter’s door, he
would be indictable as recreant to professional duty if he should fail to set the
physical problem at rest.
Page 385
For a man of science to refuse an opportunity to investigate any new
phenomenon, whether it comes to him in the shape of a man from the moon, or a
ghost from the Eddy homestead, is alike reprehensible.
[Translated from the original Russian text.] *
Dear Sir:
In New York, where many people, who hearing the name of Tiflis, will face the
serious problem of placing this city in their geographical conceptions—whether at the
South Pole or on the White Sea—the newspaper Obzor [Review] is not read. This, of
course, is their bad luck, and does not cast the slightest reflection on the highly
unprejudiced and scholarly organ of Mr. Nikoladze. But I, as a Russian, was fortunate
to receive a clipping of an editorial in No. 20 of the Obzor and to read therein some
extremely interesting reminiscences about my unworthy self. The mere fact that such
an aesthetical, philological and critical compendium of everything that is elegant in
the literature of our era, as is the newspaper Obzor, has deigned to pay me for this
flattering attention, honors me and gives pleasure to the readers in Tiflis.
Allow me, therefore, a distant half-compatriot of yours, to express in your
respected journal a few words of gratitude, and to make a few remarks directed to
your talented confrère . . . Having carefully pondered over this little page, as it were,
torn from the book of my distant past, which represents me in the clear mirror of
honest criticism (in my real appearance, and not a fancied one), and then, having
fathomed the surprisingly profound review of my work Isis Unveiled, upon which
neither Russia, nor Tiflis, nor even the thoughtful editor of the Obzor himself, have
ever set eyes I became pensive, I must confess . . .
* [This cutting from the Russian newspaper is preserved in one of H.P.B.’s Scrapbooks in the Adyar
Page 386
It is not the numerous and laudable terms which riveted my attention; others
might have been hurt by them, but not I. Oh no! Having lived so many years in
America, I have long since become used to newspaper mud-slinging. Here they bark
louder yet, and even the respected editor of the young Obzor—such a valiant expert
in this branch of literary art, it would seem cannot outdo the American press. It made
me ponder because, being inclined in my old age to hold to the wise precepts of
pagan antiquity, I was reminded of the pronouncement of the Delphic Oracle: “To
know yourself (man) as you are—in the present, know yourself as you were—in the
past.” Thus I am even grateful to the kind editor who has, in such a timely manner,
become the priest of the Delphic Oracle in print. However, as a citizen of the United
States, I was hurt for America, which until now has been given priority in the case of
new discoveries and practical inventions. The editorial in the Obzor has ruined that
reputation. All our telephones, phonographs and even “electrical” men, have faded
before the new and useful discovery of Mr. Nikoladze, namely, the ability to write
reviews of books, not on the basis of their actual worth and as a result of honest
analysis of the author’s ideas, but simply on a practical application of the science of
Lavater and Galen,—i.e., by means of physiognomy or facial fortunetelling, and
phrenology, according to the calendar of Martin Zadeki and Co., at Kiev. This great
discovery belongs by rights to the Editor of the Obzor, who, as a result of facial
recollections, has unveiled with one stroke of his pen both the unfortunate Isis and its
no less unfortunate author. Who is unaware of the remarkable ability of Lavater
faultlessly to divine and unveil the character, talents, vices, and the most intimate
traits of anyone he met, for instance, on the street? Lavater, unfortunately, was killed
in the days of the French Directorate by the soldiers of Masséna at Zurich; fate,
however, showed its mercy for silly humanity in general, and the victims of the
mercenary American press in particular, and did not permit the soldiers of Mukhtar
Pasha and the Crescent to kill Mr. Nikoladze on the bloody fields of Armenia.
Page 387
It preserved him for the Obzor, and so that the great science of “facial fortunetelling”
should not perish for lack of a worthy representative. From now on, Russia has found
its own Lavater and . . . a new day has dawned in Russian literature. Henceforth,
Mssrs. the critics may demand, not the actual published works, but merely the
photographs of their authors. In this way the books may be subjected to the careful
analysis of the reviewers, by means of their facial recollections alone. That will be
cheaper and real fine. Clever was old Socrates not to have left any manuscripts; how
bald and pug-nosed they would have appeared to the Editor of the Obzor, can be
judged from the editorial in No. 20 of his Journal.
One might suppose that if the eyes of the author of Isis “were shifting in all
directions, carefully avoiding meeting ones own”—it was because of a psychic
foreboding of the dangerous Lavaterian abilities of Mr. Nikoladze. Unfortunately I do
not remember him personally, and must confess that I never heard about such an
unpleasant habit of my “eyes” from anyone else, and have never noticed it myself. It
would appear I should ponder more deeply the Socratic precept: “Man, know
Further, in the same editorial I learn that, while residing at Kutais, I “fooled local
scribblers and cadets.” This is very flattering for me personally, but hardly so for the
ex-scribblers. Considering that in those peaceful and flourishing days (the sixties) the
numerous direct descendants of the reigning princes of Guriya and Imeretia rarely
advanced beyond the ranks of cadets and writing clerks, preferring to rush straight
from the lower grade benches in the local schools into the embraces of Hymen, and to
begin their careers when already bearded, though youthful fathers of families; and
furthermore, recollecting that in those distant days I was a mature and rather
voluminous lady, and “in addition, with manners which produced a highly unpleasant
impression upon the onlooker,” it is impossible not to be genuinely sorry for these
innocent “fools.” With what cold-blooded and merciless satire does Mr. Nikoladze
scoff at his compatriots—the illustrious “scribblers and cadets,” of the local
aristocracy of Kutais.
Page 388
In conclusion I will permit myself to observe that everything points to the fact
that the talented critic, even if he has studied Lavater especially, has nevertheless
neglected to acquaint himself with human nature in general. “Artificiality and
charlatanry” are weapons only of those who aim at some honor or monetary benefit.
Would Mr. Nikoladze dare to say that I or anyone else could possibly have expected
anything of that kind in a circle of starving “scribblers and cadets” of Imeretia?
Let us hasten to complete the mystification of the poor Tiflis Messenger that
was unable to detect the fact that the 64 newspapers and magazines in America which
have so far published, and continue to publish, more or less lengthy reviews of Isis
Unveiled, possibly too laudable, have all, to the very last, been bribed by me. That
there are sixty-four of them, and those only the ones I have read myself, is easy for
me to prove by means of the Scrapbook into which I have pasted them. With such an
enormous influence upon the press as I exercise in America, it wouldn’t be a bad
thing for the Russian government to flirt with me a little, as I might have some
influence upon the forthcoming Russian-American progressive and defensive
alliance. The press, it would appear is under my thumb in London also. As proof of
this I send you a review of Isis Unveiled from the London Public Opinion of the 29th
of December. This journal could also be called Obzor [Review]—but of the public
opinion of Europe, and not the private and prejudiced opinions of its editor. Its
specialty is to publish and to hold merely the opinions expressed by the voice of the
majority in all matters of criticism, politics, literature and the arts. Would not Mr.
Nikoladze like to acquaint himself with the standing of the Public Opinion of
London, where all writers and artists fear it, as they would fire, on account of its
impartiality and severity? Its reviewer, apparently, has so little concern with the
personality of the writer, confining his entire attention to the production itself, that he
has more than once called the author of Isis, Mr. Blavatsky. I am sending to the editor
of the Tiflis Messenger the English original for comparison, and ask to be permitted
to translate a few lines from the section on English Literature in that London review.
Page 389
[Here follows the Russian translation of the review published in the London
Public Opinion of December 29, 1877.]
Such is the opinion of one of the most serious among English literary organs
concerning my Isis and its author, Mr. Blavatsky. Many people will of course think
that praise of myself is out of place here. But in Tiflis, where many knew me, English
is not understood, while everyone sees the Russian Obzor of Mr. Nikoladze. Probably
he has overlooked the fact that it is quite possible to be the embodiment of all vices,
and physical as well as moral deformity, and yet to be at the same time a good, and
even an outstanding writer. The editor of Obzor has challenged me with an insulting
public declaration, probably because I am located 8,000 miles from him—and I have
answered. Will he not favor us now with his estimate of how much, for instance, I
had to pay the scholarly journal, Public Opinion of London, for its flattering
[In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. VIII, p. 252, there is pasted a cutting from The
Bombay Gazette of June 18, 1878, entitled “A Wonderful Discovery.” It is an account
of Dr. Rotura’s method of temporarily suspending animal life. At the end of this
article H.P.B. added the following remarks:]
NOTE. On the 26th of March 1877 the N. Y. World printed [see Scrapbook, IV,
pp. 49-51] an account of an interview of its reporter with H.P.B., in which she said
that the shepherds of Thibet understand how to cause life to be suspended in their
domestic animals by manipulating a certain artery in the neck. After a desired time
has passed they bring the animals to life again without harm. She used the
words,asitappears: “I prophesy to you (the Reporter) that within a year from now
scientists will discover how this is done in the case of the lower animals.”
Page 390
[See in this connection H.P.B.’s Letter to the Editor of La Revue Spirite of Paris
coneerning the discovery of Dr. Rotura, published in its issue of December 1879.
Vide Vol. II of the present Series.]
[L’Opinione Nazionale. Firenze, 22 Giugno,1878]
Nostra Corrispondenza. Nouva York
Carissimo Direttore,
Vi spedisco l’Eco di Nuova York—nostro Organo locale delle Società secrete—
Vi sarà, credo, di speciale interesse che il nostro Presidente come rappresentante le
opinioni della nostra Società prende una prominentissima parte coi Repubblicani
della Colonia italiana in questo nostro paese nell’ inaugurare un monumento a
La cerimonia dello scoprimento avrà luogo al 29 Maggio nel Parco Centrale, e
copia de’ varii documenti riguardanti codesta funzione vi sarà spedita. La
Commissione vorrebbe che io facessi un discorso in lingua russa; ma con tutto
l’amore e l’ammirazione che professo per Mazzini ho dovuto rifiutarmi. Detesto far
mostra di me sentendomi più atto a vivere nelle selve indiane tra le tigri ed i serpenti
che in mezzo a persone in bianchi guanto e con abiti a coda di rondine:
Il giornale italiano Fanfulla mi venne assicurato che censurava gl’italiani di
America formanti parte di questa Commissione, dichiarandoli una massa di comunisti
ed individui di pessima riputazione. Quest’è una bugia infamante. Questi sono
repubblicani in cuore, animo e corpo, e quando il nome del Console generale d’Italia
cavaliere de Luca è stato proposto ad unanimità, fu fischiato. Cio si deve attribuire in
parte perchè rappresentante un Governo monarchico, al quale Mazzini non si è mai
sottoposto; ma principalmente si deve al perchè questo Console era principalmente
interessato al nefando traffico d’importare dei ragazzi italiani vendendoli ad una vera
schiavitù, a suonatori d’organi tedeschi che li facevano morire di fame e di bastone
facendo dormire quelle povere creature l’uno presso l’altro incatenato!
Page 391
Il fratello H. D. Monachesi, membro della nostra società, americano, di
derivazione italiana, forma parte di questa Commissione, fu uno dei più attivi a far
crollare il sopradetto traffico, e diverse volte è stato in procinto d’essere ucciso da
persone comprate dal Console. Il presidente dissemi che tutti gli associati erano
d’accordo con la opinione del signor Monachesi circa il Console de Luca.
La Commissione Mazzini viene presieduta dal Dott. G. Ceccarini e tutti gli altri
membri sono rispettabilissimi. È una vera infamia da parte del Console de Luca lo
spargere tale calunnia, e cio non per altro che per dispetto. Come teosofista venite
pregato di communicare ciò a quanta onesta gente odia la menzogna e la calunnia, e
se è possible d’inserire in più giornali italiani che potete questi fatti, per lo che vi ho
spedito l’Eco—Non c’è tempo da perdere: agite.
[L’Opinione Nazionale, Florence, June 22, 1878]
[Translation of the foregoing original Italian text]
Our Correspondence. New York.
My dear Editor,
I am sending to you the New York Echo—our local Organ for Secret Societies.
It will be, I believe, of special interest to you that our President, as representing the
opinions of our Society, is taking a very prominent part with the Republicans of the
Italian Colony in this our country in inaugurating a monument to Mazzini.
The ceremony of the unveiling will take place on May 29th in Central Park, and
a copy of the various documents regarding this function will be sent to you.
The Commission would like me to make an address in the Russian language;
but with all the love and admiration that 1 avow for Mazzini I have had to refuse. I
detest making a show of myself, feeling myself more fit to live in the forests of India
among tigers and serpents than among persons in white gloves and swallow-tailed
Page 392
I have been informed that the Italian journal Fanfulla has censured the Italians of
America forming part of this Commission, declaring them to be a lot of communists
and individuals of the worst reputation. This is an infamous lie. They are republicans
in heart, soul and body, and when the name of the Italian Consul general, de Luca,
was proposed for unanimity, it was hissed. That must be attributed partly to the fact
that he represents a monarchial Government, to which Mazzini has never subjected
himself; but principally it is due to the reason that the said Consul was principally
interested in the nefarious traffic of importing Italian boys and selling them to a
veritable slavery to players of German organs that made them die of hunger and by
the cudgel, making those poor creatures sleep chained one to the other! Our brother
H. C. Monachesi, a member of our Society, an American of Italian origin, who
belongs to this Commission, was one of the most active in overthrowing the abovementioned
traffic, and has been several times on the verge of being killed by persons
hired by the Consul. The president told me that all the associates were in agreement
with the opinion of Mr. Monachesi concerning Consul de Luca.
The Mazzini Commission is presided over by Dr. G. Ceccarini and all the other
members are highly respectable. It is a true infamy on the part of Consul de Luca to
spread such a calumny, and for no other reason than spite. As a Theosophist you are
asked to communicate this to all those who hate falsehood and calumny, and, if
possible, to insert these facts in as many Italian newspapers as you can, for which I
have sent you The Echo. There is no time to lose: act.
Page 393
[Religio-Philosophical Journal. Chicago, Vol. XXIV, July 6. 1878, p. 2]
So far, as I can at present foresee, this will be the last time I shall ask you to
print anything over my—to many Spiritualists—loathed signature, as I intend to start
for India very soon. But I have once more to correct inaccurate statements. If I had
had my choice, I would have preferred almost any other person than my very
esteemed friend, Dr. Bloede, to have last words with. Once an antagonist—a bitter
and unjust one to me, as he himself admits—he has since made all the amends I could
have asked of a scholar and a gentleman, and now, as all who read your valuable
paper see, he does me the honor to call me friend. Honest in intent he always is, I am
sure, but still a little prejudiced. Who of us but is [not] so, more or less? Duty,
therefore, compels me to correct the erroneous impression which his letter on “Secret
Societies” (Journal of June 15th) is calculated to give about the Theosophical Society.
How many “Fellows” we have, how the society is flourishing, what are its operations
or how conducted, no one knows or can know, save the presidents of its various
branches and their secretaries. Therefore, Dr. G. Bloede, in saying that it has “failed
in America, and will fail in Europe,” speaks of that of which neither he nor any other
outsider has knowledge. If the Society’s only object were the study of the phenomena
called Spiritual, his strictures would be perfectly warranted; for it is not secrecy but
privacy and exclusiveness that are demanded in the management of circles and
mediums. It would have been absurd to make [a] secret society expressly for that
purpose. At its beginning the Theosophical Society was started for that sole study,
and therefore, was, as you all know, open to any respectable person, who wished to
join it. We discussed “Spiritual” topics freely, and were willing to impart to the public
the results of all our experiments, and what ever some of us might have learned of the
subject in the course of long studies.
Page 394
How our views and philosophy were received—no need to recall the old story again.
The storm has hardly subsided; and the total of billingsgate poured upon our devoted
heads is preserved in three gigantic scrapbooks whose contents I mean to immortalize
some day. When, through the writing and noble efforts of the Journal and other
spiritual papers, the secret of these varied and vexing phenomena indiscriminately
called spiritual will be snatched at last, when the faithful of the Orthodox church of
Spiritualism will be forced to give up—partially at least —their many bigoted and
preconceived notions, then the time will have come again for Theosophists to claim a
hearing. Till then, its members retire from the arena of discussion and devote their
whole leisure to the fulfillment of other and more important objects of the Society.
You perceive, then, that it is only when experience showed the necessity for its
work to be enlarged, and its objects became various, that the T.S. thought fit to
protect itself by secrecy. Since then, none but perjured witnesses, and we know of
none, can have told about what we were doing, except as permitted by official
sanction and announced from time to time. One of such objects of our society, we are
willing to publicly announce.
It is universally known that this most important object is to antagonize
Christianity and especially Jesuitism. One of our most esteemed and valued members
—once an ardent Spiritualist, but who must for the present be nameless—has but
recently fallen a victim to the snares of this hateful body. The nefarious designs of
Jesuitism are plotted in secret and carried out through secret agencies. What more
reasonable and lawful, therefore, than that those who wish to fight it should keep
their own secret, likewise, as to their agencies and plans? We have among us persons
in high positions—political, military, financial and social—who regard Christianity as
the greatest evil to humanity and are willing to help pull it down. But for them to be
able to do much and well, they must do it anonymously. The church—”Triple-headed
Snake,” as a well-known writer calls it—can no longer burn its enemies, but it can
blast their social influence; can no longer roast their bodies, but can ruin their
Page 395
We have no right to give our enemy, the church, the names of our “Fellows” who are
not ripe for martyrdom, and so we keep them secret. If we have an agent to send to
India, or to Japan, or China, or any other heathen country, to do something or confer
with somebody in connection with the Society’s general plans against missionaries, it
would be foolish, nay, criminal, to expose our agent to imprisonment under some
malicious pretext, if not death, and even the latter is possible in the faraway East, and
our scheme is liable to miscarry by announcing it to the dishonorable company of
So, Sir, to sum up in a word, Dr. Bloede has made a great mistake in supposing
the Theosophical Society a “failure” in this or any other country. When the society
counted three years ago its members by the dozens, it now counts them by the
hundreds and thousands. And so far from its threatening in any respect the stability of
society or the advancement of spiritual knowledge, the Theosophical Institution
which now bears the name of the “Theosophical Society of the Ârya Samâj of India,”
being regularly chartered by and affiliated with that great body in the land of the
Âryas, will be found some day, by the Spiritualists, and all others who claim the right
of thinking for themselves, to have been the true friend of intellectual and spiritual
liberty—if not in America, at least in France and other countries, where an infernal
priesthood thrusts innocent Spiritualists into prison by the help of a subservient
judiciary and the use of perjured testimony. Its name will be respected as a pioneer of
free thought and an uncompromising enemy of priestly and monkish fraud and
New York, June 17th, 1878.
Page 396
[La Revue Spirite, Paris, octobre, 1878]
L’un de nos amis, homme de lettres et publiciste distingué, avait reçu de l’un de
ses confrères de l’Amérique (États-Unis), une lettre concernant les Théosophes; cette
lettre nous l’avons inséré, sans nous figurer qu’elle renfermait des erreurs et un récit
tant soit peu fantaisiste; une lettre de Madame H. P. Blavatsky nous permet de
rectifier ce que nous avons inséré de bonne foi, ce que nous nous empressons de faire
comme un devoir et avec plaisir; notre amie nous paraissait surfaite par qui la connait
à peine, nous en avons la preuve certaine. Notre religion a été surprise.
Voici, textuellement, la lettre de Madame Blavatsky:
A peine revenue d’un voyage, je trouve dans le numéro de juin dernier de la
Revue Spirite, un article intitulé «Les Théosophes—Madame Blavatsky». Traduction
à peu près fidèle d’une nouvelle publiée l’année dernière dans le World de New-York,
cet article répète—fort innocemment sans doute—les hallucinations de M. Ie
Reporter Américain.
Il existe une race de bipèdes—production à peu près récente de notre siècle à
vapeur et iconoclaste par excellence,—que les Académies des Sciences ont jusqu’ici
negligé de classifier sous la rubrique de «Tératologie», ou science traitant des
monstres humains. Les monstres ou lusus naturae s’appellent reporters ici—comme
partout ailleurs—avec cette différence, cependant, que celui du pays de Christophe
Colomb et du général Tom-Pouce se distingue de son cousin trans-atlantique, autant
que le buffle sauvage des forêts vierges du taureau domestique. Si ce dernier se rend
parfois coupable de dégâts commis sur la haie d’un voisin, le premier détruit des
forêts entières sur son passage furieux; il rue aveuglément, tue et écrase tout ce qui
lui fait obstacle. Avec Messieurs les reporters Américans, je ne sais vraiment
pourquoi les bons citoyens des États-Unis se donnent seulement la peine de fermer
les portes; il n’existe ni serrures assez brevetées, ni secret de famille assez sacré pour
les empécher de se faufiler partout, de fureter, se mêler de tout, et surtout de
remplacer la vérité toute nue par la fiction la plus singulièrement habillée dans leurs
publications quotidiennes.
Page 397
Il y a cinq ans que je suis la victime de ces chercheurs de sensations littéraires.
Lorsque j’essaye de fermer ma porte au nez de l’un de ces Argus de la presse, il entre
par la fenêtre. Balayé de son poste d’observation, il remplace ce qu’il aurait pu voir,
par ce qu’il n’avait jamais vu, et ce qui n’avait jamais existé! Aussi, ne puis-je,
cependant, consentir de gaîté de coeur, à passer aux yeux de vos estimables lecteurs
de la Revue Spirite pour une complice de ces efforts d’imagination? Quoiqu’en
substance l’article traitant de ce que le reporter et plusieurs autres personnes ont vu
chez moi, un soir, soit assez exacte vers la fin; les détails qui précèdent l’apparition
des deux ombres ne le sont guère.
Et d’abords pour commencer, je ne suis pas comtesse, que je sache. Sans oublier
qu’il serait plus que ridicule—ce serait anti-constitutionnel—à un citoyen ou
citoyenne de la République des États-Unis—qui abjure lors de sa naturalisation tout
titre de noblesse—de s’en arroger un, surtout lorsqu’il ne lui a jamais apparteml; je
suis trop démocrate et j’aime et je respecte assez le peuple, pour que lui ayant voué
toutes mes sympathies et cela, sans distinction de race ou de couleur, j’aille
m’affubler d’un titre quelconque! J’ai toujours protesté publiquement contre cette
tendance si ridicule dans une République comme la nôtre de donner à toute personne
étrangère des titres plus ou moins sonores.
Néanmoins—et quoique je ne sois pas comtesse, je n’ai jamais eu l’habitude
d’offrir des pipes à mes visiteurs.—On peut etre démocrate, veuve de tout titre, et nc
pas accepter cependant—surtout à mon âge—un rôle ridicule et inconvenant.
En parlant d’âge et quoique les journaux du pays m’eussent voté respectivement
et à diverses époques l’âge de 25, 60, 86, 92 et—de 103 ans, je me vois obligée
d’assurer à vos lecteurs que je n’ai pas «passé plus de trente ans dans l’Inde» C’est
justement mon âge—quoique fort respectable tel qu’il est—qui s’oppose violemment
à cette chronologie de fantaisie. Je n’ai pas plus embrassé la «foi Bouddhique» soit
«par conviction» ou par autre chose.
Page 398
Il est vrai que je regarde la philosophie de Gautama Bouddha, comme le
système le plus sublime; le plus pur et surtout le plus logique entre tout autre. Mais ce
système défiguré pendant des siècles par l’ambition et le fanatisme des prêtres est
devenu une religion vulgaire: les formes et le culte exotérique ou populaire découlés
de ce système ressemblent trop à celui de l’église romaine qui en a fait le plagiat
servilement pour que je puisse jamais m’y convertir. Ainsi que dans tout système pur
et primitif introduit par les grands réformateurs religieux du monde ancien, ses rayons
ont trop divergé de leur centre commun—les Védas des Aryas; et quoiqu’entre toutes
les croyances modernes l’Eglise Bouddhique soit l’unique qui encourage ses
membres à questionner ses dogmes et à rechercher le fin mot de tout mystère qui y
est enseigné—j’aime mieux m’en tenir à la source mère que de me fier à un des
nombreux ruisseaux qui en découlent. «Ne croyez pas`ce que je vous dis, rien que
pour la raison que c’est moi, votre Bouddha qui vous le dis—mais seulement lorsque
votre raison ne s’oppose pas à la vérité de mon assertion»—a dit Gautama dans ses
Sûtras ou aphorismes. Or, et quoique j’admire de toute mon âme la philosophie si
élevée de Siddhârtha, ou Sakya-Mouni, je m’incline tout autant devant la grandeur
morale et la forte logique du Kapila Indou, le grand Achârya, qui fut cependant
l’ennemi le plus acharné du Bouddha. Tandis que ce demier tenait les Védas comme
autorité suprême—les Bouddhistes les ont rejeté après coup, lorsqu’il est pourtant
prouvé que Gautama, dans sa réforme et protestation contre les abus des rusés
Brahmanes, s’est basé entièrement sur le sens ésotérique des grandes Écritures
primitives. Donc, si le reporter—auteur de l’article en question—eut dit simplement
que j’appartenais à la religion qui a inspiré Bouddha, au lieu de me présenter au
public comme une Bouddhiste tournant la Roue de la Loi—il n’eut dit que la vérité.
On peut être Platonicien, sans être nécessairement paien ou idolâtre pour cela; comme
on peut rester chrétien sans appartenir à aucune des églises qui se battent depuis dix
huit cents ans au nom de l’Homme-Dieu.
Si nos frères d’outre-mer s’intéressent à savoir quelle est la religion, ou plutôt le
système auquel noue les Théosophes (de la section intérieure)—adhérons, je suis
chargée par le Conseil Administratif de la «Société Théosophique de l’Arya Samaj
des Indes» de vous le dire—aussitôt que vous nous l’aurez demandé. Nous n’en
faisons pas un secret.
Page 399
Seulement —ne nous appelez plus Bouddhistes, car vous commettriez une grave
Pour en finir je vous assure que je n’ai pas dit la moitié des sottises que l’on
m’attribue dans l’article en question. Je n’ai jamais assuré, par «emple, avoir fait
moi-même l’opération délicate avec les moutons et chèvres du Thibet, pour la simple
raison que je ne suis jamais allée dans les endroits montagneux et presque
inaccessibles où l’on prétend que ce phénomène de léthargie forcée a lieu. Je n’ai
répété que ce qui m’a été assuré, mais personnellement je crois à la possibilité de ce
fait—sous certaines réserves cependant. Les possibilités du magnétisme animale sont
infinies, et, je crois au Magnétisme et vous aussi je pense. La dessus, donnons
fraternellement la main à travers l’Atlantique, et—ne vous fiez pas trop dorénavant
aux articles d’origine américaine.
NOTA. Nous acceptons avec empressement, l’exposition du système que les
Théosophes préconisent, et nous insérerons ce que notre correspondant voudra bien
nous donner; nous aurons tout intérêt à le lire.
Page 400
[La Revue SpirParis, October, 1878]
[Translation of the foregoing original French text]
One of our many friends, a distinguished writer and publicist, received a letter
about the Theosophists from one of his confrères in America (United States); we
inserted it without imagining that it contained errors and a somewhat fantastic story; a
letter from Madame H. P. Blavatsky enables us to rectify what we inserted in good
faith, and we hasten to do so as a duty, and with pleasure: our friend seems to us to
have been misinterpreted by someone who hardly knows her; we have absolute proof
of it. This is rather a surprise to us.
Here is, textually, Madame Blavatsky’s letter:
Hardly had I returned from a journey when I found in the June number of La
Revue Spirite an article entitled “Les Théosophes—Madame Blavatsky,” a fairly
accurate translation of a story published last year in the New York World; this article
repeats—quite innocently no doubt—the hallucinations of Mr. American Reporter.
There exists a race of bipeds—the rather recent production of our century of
steam and iconoclasm par excellence —that the Academies of Science have hitherto
neglected to classify under the heading of “Teratology,” or the Science treating of
human monsters. The monsters or lusus naturae, are called reporters here—as they
are everywhere—but there is this difference, however, that the one of the land of
Christopher Columbus and Generaite, l Tom Thumb differs from his trans-atlantic
cousin as much as the wild buffalo of the virgin forest does from the domestic bull. If
the latter sometimes becomes guilty of havoc committed on the fence of a neighbor,
the former destroys whole forests in his furious career; he rushes blindly and kills and
crushes everything that stands in his way. As to Messrs. the American reporters I
really do not know why the good citizens of the United States take the trouble to
fasten their doors; there is neither a lock sufficiently patented, nor a family secret
sacred enough to prevent them from intruding, from ferreting out, from meddling in
everything, and above all from substituting in their daily publication the most
strangely dressed-up fiction for the bare truth.
Page 401
For five years I have been the victim of these hunters for literary sensations.
When I try to shut my door in the face of one of these Arguses of the press, he comes
in by the window. Swept from his observation post, he substitutes what he might have
seen by what he never saw at all, and by what never existed; how can I, then, goodnaturedly
consent to pass in the eyes of the worthy readers of La Revue Spirite for an
accomplice in these efforts of the imagination? Although in substance the article
which treats of what the reporter and several other persons saw in my house one
evening, may be accurate enough towards the end, the details that precede the
apparition of the two Shades are hardly so.
To begin with I am not a Countess so far as I know. Without overlooking the fact
that it would be more than ridiculous—it would be unconstitutional—in a citizen or
citizeness of the Republic of the United States—who abjures all titles of nobility
upon being naturalized—to claim one, above all one which never belonged to him or
her—I am too democratic, and I love and respect the people sufficiently, having
devoted all my sympathy to them, and this without distinction of race or color, to
trick myself out in any kind of title! I have always publicly protested against this
ridiculous inclination in a Republic like ours of giving every foreigner a more or less
high-sounding title.
However—and although I may not be a Countess—I have never been in the
habit of offering pipes to my guests. One may be a democrat, bereft of every title, and
yet not accept—above all at my age—a ridiculous and unseemly rôle.
Speaking of age, and although the newspapers of the country may have voted
me respectively and at various times, the ages of 25, 60, 86, 92 and—103 years, I
must assure your readers that I have not “passed more than thirty years in India.” It is
precisely my age—however respectable it may be—that is radically opposed to that
fantastic chronology. Neither have I embraced the “Buddhist faith” either “from
conviction” or for any other reason.
Page 402
It is true that I regard the philosophy of Gautama Buddha as the most sublime
system; the purest, and, above all, the most logical of all. But the system has been
distorted during the centuries by the ambition and fanaticism of the priests and has
become a popular religion; the forms and the exoteric or popular cult proceeding
from that system, too closely resemble those of the Roman church which has
slavishly plagiarized from it, for me ever to be converted to it. Just as in every pure
and primitive system, introduced by the great religious reformers of the ancient
world, its rays have diverged too far from their common centre—the Vedas of the
Âryans; and although among all modern beliefs the Buddhist Church may be the only
one to encourage its members to question its dogmas and to seek the last word of
every mystery which is taught therein—I much prefer to hold to the mother source
rather than to depend upon any of the numerous streams that flow from it.
“Do not believe what I tell you just because it is I, your Buddha, who says it—
but only because your judgment is not opposed to the truth of my assertion”—says
Gautama in his Sûtras or aphorisms. Now although I admire with all my soul the lofty
philosophy of Siddhârtha, or Sâkya-Muni, I bow quite as much before the moral
grandeur and the powerful logic of the Hindu Kapila, the great Âchârya, who was,
however, the most implacable enemy of the Buddha. While the latter looked on the
Vedas as the supreme authority—the Buddhists rejected them after all, though it was
proved, nevertheless, that Gautama in his reform and protest against the abuses of the
wily Brâhmanas, based himself entirely upon the esoteric meaning of the grand
primitive Scriptures. Then, if the reporter—the author of the article in question—had
simply said that I belonged to the religion that had inspired the Buddha, instead of
presenting me to the public as a Buddhist turning the Wheel of the Law—he would
have spoken nothing but the truth. One can be a Platonist without necessarily being a
pagan or an idolater at that, as one may remain a Christian without belonging to any
of the Churches which have been fighting one another for eighteen hundred years in
the name of the Man-God.
Page 403
If our trans-atlantic brothers are interested in knowing what is the religion, or
rather the system to which we—Theosophists (of the inner section)—adhere, I am
ordered by the administrative Council of the “Theosophical Society of the Ârya
Samâj of India” to tell you about it immediately on receipt of your request. We make
no secret of it. Only—do not call us Buddhists any more, because you would make a
very serious mistake.
In concluding, I assure you that I have not mentioned half the absurdities
attributed to me in the article in question. I never asserted, for example, that I myself
did the delicate operation with the sheep and goats of Tibet, for the simple reason that
I never went to the mountainous and almost inaccessible places where the
phenomenon of artificial trance takes place, it is said. I only repeated what has been
told to me, but personally I believe in the possibility of that act—with certain
reservations however. The possibilities of animal magnetism are infinite, and I
believe in Magnetism—and you also, I think. On that subject, we fraternally shake
hands across the Atlantic, and . . . do not trust too much in future to articles of
American origin.
NOTE.—We hasten to accept the promised exposition of the system
promulgated by Theosophists, and we shall insert whatever our correspondent will
kindly send us; we shall be greatly interested in reading it.
Page 404
[In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. VII, p. 258, there is pasted a brief cutting entitled
“Extreme Measures Advocated.” Neither the source, the date, nor the author are
stated. It speaks of Charles Sotheran who, declaring himself a labor Socialist, spoke
at a mass meeting of strikers and urged them to take extreme measures against the
Capitalist exploiters. To this H.P.B. remarked:]
A Theosophist becoming a rioter, encouraging revolution and MURDER, a
friend of Communists is no fit member of our Society.
[In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. VII, p. 306, there is pasted the printed copy of the
Petition of Bankruptcy against E. Gerry Brown, the former Editor of The Spiritual
Scientist. In the list of Creditors we find Col. Olcott with $590, and H.P.B. with $150.
H.P.B. marked these sums and wrote in red pencil (much faded now) as follows:]
Several hundred more given without asking for a note. H.P.B.
A constant shower of abuse and sneering in his paper against [one word
illegible] and in their paper too, and bankruptcy to end the whole without a single
acknowledgement, excuse or regret.
Such is Elbridge Brown the Spiritualist!!
[In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. V, pp. 77-79, there is pasted a cutting entitled “Our
Sketches from India,” the source and the date of which are unknown. It contains the
description of the investiture of several Indian Princes with the Order of the Star of
India. At the end of this article H.P.B. wrote in pencil some remarks in Russian.
Translated, they read as follows:]
Page 405
Is it not the remembrance of the year 1857 that compels you to affect such
tenderness to the Indian Princes, oh kind men of Albion? In vain . . . When the
HOUR STRIKES . . . nothing will stay the hand of Fate!
. . .
[These remarks are significantly signed with three dots.]
[In H.P.B.’s Scrapbook, Vol. V, p. 81, there is pasted a short cutting of eight lines,
the source and the date of which are unknown. It has to do with a certain Dr. Scudder
who said that the Oriental nations will never become converted to Christianity until
their women first become Christians, and that women can be converted only by the
personal agency of women who would go there from Christian countries. Hindu
women, it would appear, will not listen to male missionaries. Under this H.P.B. wrote
in ink:]
I wish the Rev. may get it . . . Anyhow, the Reverend fraud may go to his
Christian Hell first. Hindu women will no more listen to female flapdoodle humbugs
thanks to the male cheats, who like Scudder go about deceiving the “heathen”—far
less heathen than themselves.
Page 406
[The superior numbers occurring in the text of the Diaries refer to
Compiler’s Notes appended at the end of them.]
[Among the most valuable documents in the Adyar Archives are the many
volumes of Colonel H. S. Olcott’s Diaries. He was in the habit of writing down daily
the occurrences of the day, to mention those whom he met and to recount briefly
various events that were taking place at the time. He kept such Diaries at least from
1875 on, and almost to the time of his death in 1907. The Diaries of 1875-77
mysteriously disappeared years ago, and the Colonel had no idea what could have
become of them. For this reason, the Diaries for the year 1878 are the first ones
available. They are especially interesting because they are the only ones in which
H.P.B. wrote. In those days, Col. Olcott had to absent himself on business rather
frequently, and during his absences, H.P.B. made all kinds of entries in his Diary.
When he returned, he resumed writing himself. The 1878 Diary gives a vivid picture
of the life of H.P.B. and Col. Olcott in the last year of their stay in America, before
embarking for India.
Col. Olcott’s entries are printed in small type, and only those from October 23rd
are included. It has been thought advisable to preserve as much as possible the
original punctuation which at times is very ambiguous. No alterations have been
made in H.P.B.’s often peculiar abbreviations.]
February 6. Visitors—Hyneman.—Shut up in the room H.P.B. and Isab.
Mitchell.1 Sotheran2 brings Richard Harte of the N.Y. Echo—insists upon H.P.B.
writing an Editorial for Wednesday following. Entrance and visits forbidden. H.P.B.
writes her corresp. for Russia.
Letters received: From E.K.3—to Moloney4—sends back the astral letter. Dr.
Bloede, acknowledges his error as to his pitching into H.P.B. for accepting diploma
and Sotheran writing his letter to the “Banner.”
Page 407
February 7. H.P.B. writes letters the whole day. At four comes Dr. Bloede,—to
dinner Paris, Wimbridge5 and John Marshall the engraver. Letter from M... Jun.6
from Boston. Announces return home early on Friday morning. Wimbridge brings the
London Illustrated News.—Holkar’s and Some One’s portraits among others.
2 Letters from N. A. Fadeew7—Odessa. H.P.B. 4 feuilletons definitely lost.
Asks to write others. Letter from Bundy. Conciliatory and stupid. Package of Sat
B’hai8 from Yarker.
Pope dead.—Panic in England. Russians at Constantinople. Gortchakof
hoodwinks Disraeli.—I...9 ! ! !
February 8. Mol. home, brings grips from Boston.—Evening—Sotheran. Miss
Cowle. [H.S.O.’s entry after H.P.B.’s: Miss S. Emma Cowell, 227 East 20th St.]
Letter from Davey,—Spirit of Times, excusing himself on account of his rheumatism.
Holkar’s first visit. Mol’s indignation at the profanation of the Elephanta caves.
February 9. H.P.B. added P.S. to the letter sent to Hurrychund Chintamon.10
Enquiry about Holkar and Bhurtpur, Letter from Franklin Register. Today St.11 send
50 copies!! of H.P.B.’s answer to masons. Rel. Ph.12 full of letters which pitch into
February 11. Letters from E. Kislingbury to H.P.B. Letter to Moloney from M.
A. Oxon13—(reply to his last). Providence Journal sent by Steward (Franklin) with
parag. about Masonry. Delivered to W. Mitchell. 2 newsp. to be sent Bombay,
Hurrychund. 3 Feuilletons for “Pravda,”14 Letter and portrait to N. A. Fadeev,—the
whole insured.
D. Curtis called at 6—had dinner at 4.—Rosetta working the whole day.—
Answered Emily—and N. A. Fadeev. Curtis and Mrs. Mitchell.—Harrisse brought his
portrait.15 Went away at ten—and Dr. Wilder16 came in.—Remained the whole
night. Mr. Mitchell came down sick.—1st day of seamstress.
February 12. Letters—from Franklin—sent in clips from papers—and
advertisement for H.P.B.’s fight with M—.
Page 408
1 February “Spiritualist” no 25 January Spiritualist. 2d day of seamstress.
Visits evening—Sotheran, Mrs. Winchester.—Mrs. Ames, Mrs. Oliver.—
Wimbridge and—Miss Bates. Stopped till 3.—Olcott arrived.—
February 13. Olcott arrived at 8 in the morning. Bothered H.P.B. with fixing
bells. Letter from O’Donovan, announces visits. Letter from Wimbridge about l’Inde
des Rajahs.17 H.P.B. went out with I.B.M.
July 8. Went at 10 to Madame Marquette,18 Spring St. Order to supply her as a
witness for H.P.B. Went from there to the City Hall. Presented our naturalization
claims. and demanded to be made immediately a “citizen.” H.P.B. was made to swear
eternal affection, devotion and defence to and of the U. S. Constitution; forswore
every particle of allegiance to the Russian Emperor and—was made a “Citizen” of
the U. S. of America. Received her naturalization papers and went home happy.
Wrote an article for “Vyestnik.”19 H.S.O. came home to dinner and then to Albany
by railway on a mutual speculation with Hartmann. Will return—so he says—the day
after tomorrow. General Doubleday20 came just before his departure and remained
till 1/2 9. Jenny returned to sleep at 10 with her sister.
July 9. “Press,” “World,” “Times,” etc., speak of H.P.B.’s citizenship. Reporter
sent by “Graphic,” at 12 to interview the old party. Mrs. and Mr. Shevitch21 to
dinner, also Marble and Wimbridge. Evening,—Clark from Washington and
O’Sullivan. Telegraph from H.S.O. notifying of his return from Albany. H.P.B.
yielding to O’Sullivan’s botherations took a lock of black hair from her head and
gave it to him.
July 10. H.S.O. turned in at 9. Passport sent from Washington with mistake in
the spelling of the name. H.S.O. took it back to the city. Tropical heat, 89 d. at 11
August 4. Went to bathe. H.S.O., E. W. Macgrath and H.P.B.
Page 409
The latter provoked a last farewell admiration from the pious Xtians on the
beach by her smoking. Passed the evening with Jennings and Mrs. Cos…. [?] at
Gardiner’s Hotel. H.P.B. was given “Cooney’s” portrait. Went to bed at 1. Wimbridge
wrote his letter to Hurrychund.
August 5. Got up at 4 in the morning. H.S.O., H.P.B., Wimbridge and Macgrath
took train to New York. A letter from E. K. showing pretensions and being offended
with Olcott for what he wrote to her about C. C. Blake.22 H.S.O. received a letter
from Prof. Wyld.23 Evening to dinner, W. Q. Judge according to orders and
Wimbridge. “Indu Prakash” received from India and pamphlet “Answer of Dya Nand
Swamee24 to his critics.” An Italian paper from Otho Alexander25 from Corfu with
article on Mazzini’s festival and a thrust to the “Fanfulla,” by Menelao.26
August 6. Olcott gone to Albany. Dictionary received from Odessa. Letters
received from Mooljee Thackersey27 to H.P.B. from Hurrychund Chintamon and
Shamajee Chrishnavarma.28 H. C. sends a whole package of books of the 6
philosophies.—Letter from H.S.O. to H.C. including Wimbridge’s letter sent by the
latter also. Answer to Mooljee by H.P.B. Evening—Curtis came and began an article
on the Swamee and the Arya Samaj. Wimbridge, then Macgrath, and finally Judge
who remained to sleep. Macgrath thinks seriously of joining us and going to India.
H.S.O. rec’d from H.C.C. pamphlet on Bhuts and letter.
August 7. Wimbridge to dinner. Evening, Paris and Mr. Tows.
September 11. Wimb. prepared H.P.B.’s portrait for engraving.—Marble dined
with us. Then after dinner, McCarthy, Samuels, who wants to join us, Mrs. Morell
and Stone (the stony spiritual idiot). Pamphlet received from Hurry C. by a Southern
lady—an “old friend” of his. She —a Christian.
October 9. All day ringing of the bell. Mrs. C. Daniels came and remained two
hours bothering. O’Donovan went on with the sculpting.
Page 410
Mrs. D. made love to O’D. and the latter returned. He dined here. She went
away sighing that her husband dies not. Evening. O’D. and W. and H.P.B. alone.
Letters to H.S.O. and H.P.B. with portraits and official letter from Lippitt.29 Consents
to accept Fellowship. Write letter the Revd. Ayton, Oxford, Vicarage.—Letter from
Stainton Moses. Flapdoodle.
Neuralgia ! ! ! Will frighten it off to-night.
October 10. H.P.B. wrote article for Petersburg.—O’Donovan whole day. Mrs.
O’Grady came to dinner.— Letter from Rochelle, from van der Linden.30
Enthusiastic and prepares to send his mite of $1.25 every month to the Arya Samaj.
Asks whether he ought not to learn Sanskrit or Pali. Saw Rev. Hoysington the blind
lecturer. Agreed with him to preach and stir up the Brahma in the West. Letter from
Evans (Philadelph) want to order a Society pin (badge) for himself but is too stingy.
Asks how much. Answered, and sent him off to H.S.O.—
Evening. O’Donovan, O’Grady, Wm., Macgrath, Mrs. Daniels and Ayre. Kept
them all in the dining room. Wrote article. Mrs. D. brought her picture. Sent a Theos.
Circular to Revd. Scudder, Brooklyn, and wrote a greeting in Tamil at a corner of the
October 11. Article.—O’Donovan and plastering. Made a bunion on H.P.B.’s
nose on the plaster. Dined here. After dinner Curtis came to finish article on the
disposal of Palm’s ashes. Wrote in the closet room. Finished article. Began another.
No letter from H.S.O. to W.’s great surprise. Told him that H.P.B. saw one
coming, which had an orange and golden atmosphere around it. O’Donovan finished
his bas-relief and took it home.31
Neuralgia!! Damn it. All on account of the premature withdrawing and selling
off of the carpet. Damn D—.
H.P.B. wrote to Mrs. Corson.32 No use introducing her to Madame von Vay, as
poor Wittgenstein33 is dead and she is with his family.
Page 411
October 12. Letter from one who is impudent enough to sign himself M...
Junior!!! What next? Prophecy fulfilled. Letter from E.K. sends a circular from
Constant in Smyrna and recommends him for a Theosophist. All right. Captain
Burton34 elected Fellow of the T.S. of Great Britain. Judge turned up.
Evening: Wilder came and dined. Went away at 9. H.P.B. talked with W. alone
till 2 after midnight. He confessed he saw three distinct individualities in her. He
knows it. Does not wish to say so to Olcott for fear H.S.O. will make fun of him!!!!!
October 13. Jenny went off at 7 leaving to Wim. a parting note. “Called away
upon important business. Will be back tomorrow.” No breakfast—Wim. boiled two
eggs and made coffee. Tom35 came at 10. Went off at 1 with Wim.—Wimb. came
back at 3. Marble. Prepared cold dinner. At 8 Wim. went away to join Tom at theatre
to hear Wilhelmj, the violinist. Louis came. Then Mr., Mrs. and Miss Lackey. H.P.B.
wrote answer to the Sun, on the infamous editorial which can hurt H.S.O., make
Kali36 pounce on him and Xtians refuse him their money.
Evening. Batchelor, Maynard, Wing. Mrs. Parker37 brought three Spts. Dr. Pike,
—W. H. Pruden and Mrs. E. Hallet from Boston. Pike looking at H.P.B. several
times, started and said that no one in the whole world impressed him as much. Once
saw in H.P.B. a girl of 16, at another an old woman of 100,—and again a man with a
beard!! Wim. and Tom returned at 11 from theatre. Tom is here yet with W. and
O’Donovan in the dining room chatting and it is ¼ to 4 after midnight. O’Don.
brought plaster cast, and it is the portrait of Mrs. Winchester!!! Will correct it
tomorrow. Afraid for H.S.O. and his business.
Lackey drunk evidently.
October 14. Magnificent news! Letters from Massey38 and Billing.39 C. C.
Blake at the last Theosophical meeting accused us of N. Y. and the Arya Samaj of
practicing Siva worship—performing the Linga and Sakti Puja!!! What next? Wrote
to C. C. M. and Wim. wrote also expressing disgust. Wrote to H.S.O. to come home.
H.P.B. wrote to E.K.—and this letter will be the last.
Page 412
If H.S.O. not ready, I have to go.
O’Donovan dined and demanded beer.
Evening. Macgrath and his clairvoyant Doctor—a good looking female. Miss
Lackey called. H.P.B. wrote to Hurry C. C. and sent copy of Massey’s letter. Let him
October 15. H.P.B. wrote to Billing and Thomas—denying the calumny, and
calling Carter Blake an “infamous liar.” Aired H.P.B. along the streets for two hours.
H.S.O. succeeded in writing a French postal-card. First wrote mille, very
correctly, then crossed it out and put mil, which is not. His first inspiration always
better. Sent to H.S.O. Massey’s and Billing’s letters. ORDERS received for him to
create an indignation meeting whether in reality or fancy. On his obeying depends
much. H.S.O. expects to get $5,000.
Evening. Curtis and Weisse. Looks ill. H.P.B. is afraid he won’t last long.
Finished his book and mentions in it three times H.P.B.’s Isis; calls it one of the
grandest productions of the 19th century.
H.P.B. sent a telegram to Massey, Athenaeum Club, London “Infernal lie”!! and
paid 5 dollars in gold. Money furnished by M ...
October 16. Letter from H.S.O. Did not yet receive the registered letter with
Massey and Billing’s letters. Ordered to write to him. M ... came and raved. Well, I
do not wonder.
Wrote the letter to H.S.O. and Ditton.
Tom came and dined before going to theatre.
Evening. Wrote letter of profession of faith to H.C.C. Mrs. Esther Hallet, Dr.
Pike, Dr. W. H. Pruden and Miss ———?, a friend of Miss Monachesi. Want to join
the T.S.
Took in the afternoon Isis to Dunlop’s Express Co. with introduction letter from
Curtis to Dunlop. Visited W. Q. Judge. Went with him and not having found Dunlop
left the Isis to his care. Expressage to Paris only $2.—?? Got an aerial drive there and
back. Saw Townsend.
Page 413
October 17. Letter from Bouton demanding portrait. All ready. Letter from
Hoisington and—Hurrychund to Olcott. Marble brought his portrait and dined. Curtis
came before and is going to stay all night. Writes article for the Star on cremation. No
letters from H.S.O. Found a postal card in French from—H.S.O. received apparently
on Monday, and which Jenny forgot to hand to me. Wimb. found it in the kitchen. O
America, oh, servants of America! H.P.B. received a newspaper from Australia Avoca
Mail with her article translated from Aksakoff on Zöllner and Slade.40 Sent by
Litoner or some such thing.
If H.S.O. does not write we will kill him—the heartless wretch!
October 18. H.P.B.’s article in the Sun with stupid editorial. Letters from H.S.O.
to Massey and C. C. Blake. Telegraphed for Judge, he came half an hour after that.—
Mrs. Daniels came and forced to send a blank application to Hayden the editor in
Providence. I wrote to him for $5. Always main chance first. Tom came and upset my
rest. Dined. Went away. Paid the $ initiation.
Evening passed with Wimbridge. Blues and crisles for India. Letter from Bloede,
congratulating for article in the Sun.
October 19. Letter from E.K. and from H.S.O. to Swamee. H.P.B. wrote her
explanation to Massey. A Miss Potter, tall, young, intellectual, daughter of a
millionaire came with a card of introduction from E.K., London. Insisted upon seeing
me. Lived half her life in Herbert Spencer’s family. Knows Huxley and Tyndall.
Interested in theosophy, doubts Spiritualism. She and her EIGHT sisters all
Materialists. Herbert Spencer read Isis and found some beautiful pages and new
original ideas. She is going to write to him about H.P.B. Says that E.K. is completely
under C.C.B.’s influence. Colby and a Spiritualistic idiot, both sat three hours. Colby
as spoony as sugar. Wants to send us paper to India.
Dinner. Tom and O’Donovan. H.P.B. bad humour. Townsend brought letters
from Judge. Sent after Maynard, then they sit till 1 a.m. Saddarshana Chintanika
came via Bombay and Hong Kong!! for H.S.O. and H.P.B. Time we should send
them subscription money I should say.
Page 414
October 20. Article in the Sun on the “Baron’s Ashes” by Curtis. Sent Hurry
C.C., Revd Mohottivati,41 Otho Alexander, etc. Sent copies of official letters to
Hurry C.C., and to Massey our protests. Gave all to Maynard to mail. Good Fellow.
—Marble before dinner. After dinner Mr. and Mrs. Evans from Philadelphia, Mrs.
Parker,—Linda Dietz,—Curtis, O’Donovan, Maynard and Tom. Tom bought owl and
paid for it. Evans said that H.S.O.’s business proceeded very fairly. He dined at
Mathews and has prospect of work for $200. Good job. Linda Dietz wants to join
Theosophy. Sent Tom’s $5 to Hurry C. by Maynard. Couldn’t help telling Wimb. that
I felt H.S.O. coming home—his atmosphere very close. He ought to be very near
coming. 2 a.m. now, therefore my prophecy is not for Sunday. Well we will see
tomorrow. Wimb. thinks not.
October 21. No letter from Mr. Olcott. Spiritualist announcing death of Prince E.
Wittgenstein, and copying our Rules of the Arya Samaj in full, without
The Sun gives a short thrust to the Baron’s ashes but speaks rather flatteringly
than otherwise.
Telegram from Moloney.—Means to sleep at home tonight. Therefore I was
right to feel the old boy near. Atmosphere does not agree with ME. As for H.P.B.
Letters from India, from H.C.C. to H.P.B., to Wimb. and H.S.O. Letter from
Mooljee to H.P.B. and papers. Dear H.C.C. is he not bamboozled. Books safe. H.S.O.
returned from Philadelphia. Has good hopes.
October 22. Instead of going to business at 9—H.S.O. went at 12. Visits came—
Mrs. Hallet and Mr. Somebody.—None received. Won’t have them. O’Donovan came
and had dinner with us. After dinner Harrisse.—H.P.B. left them all in the dining
room and retired with H.S.O. in the library to write letters. H.S.O. wrote to
Hurrychund and Miss E. Kislingbury. Narayan42 left watch—and in came Sahib.43
Page 415
The latter with orders from Serapis44 to complete all by first days of December.
Not to change one particle of Blodget’s plans, etc. Well,—H.S.O. is just playing his
great final stake.
October 23. And playing it successfully so far. Got names of 13 of best men in
N. Y. to a carefully drawn paper which is to be used to help form the Syndicate and to
secure the appointment from the alleged President. Sent papers to Blodget for his
Tom Cowell dined with us and was seen to the theatre by Wimb. who went then
to the Tile Club.45
Evening. Came Mr., Mrs. and Miss Lakey, and a Lieutenant Harkins, 2nd
Infantry, U.S.A., who has read Isis and seems a decent sort of fellow.
October 24. Waiting to hear Blodget’s decision about change of Syndicate paper.
Went to see Belle and found her poorly. She moves to Orange to live next
Curtis dined with us and worked on article on Mme. Shevitch.
Evening. Received Pall Mall Gazette on Oct. 9 and 11 with C. C. Blake’s
Jesuitical insult to the Arya Samaj and C. C. Massey’s defence of that Society.
H.P.B. wrote H.C.C. about this, enclosing copies of the two paragraphs and of
letter today received from Blake accepting Diploma of T.S. of A.S.! !
She also wrote Blake a stinging letter in reply to same, and sent copy to H.C.C.
I wrote H.C.C. to send Donald Kennedy’s Saddarshana Chintanika to care
Baring Bros. and Co., London, and postal card to Massey to send Spst of Apr. 12
(fakir portrait) to H.C.C.
Friday October 25. The Syndicate slowly germinates.
O’Donovan, Wimb., H.P.B. and I were at dinner when Jenny brought in a letter
from Massey, left at the moment by the postman. Before it came, H.P.B. announced
its coming and nature, and when I received it and before the seal was broken she said
it contained a letter from Dr. Wyld, and read that too, without looking at it. Massey’s
1st page contained a message to me from the Divine Brother,46 so I returned that
page to Massey with a narration of particulars and Wimb’s certificate added.
H.P.B. wrote letter to Wyld, and others to Carter Blake and C.C.M.
Visitors. Mrs. Barranco and Mr. Thompson—the latter a big, two-fisted
Page 416
October 26. Germination continues.
Received two letters from C.C.M. about Blake matter, one enclosing a letter of
B.’s as Jesuitical as possible, and also B.’s second paragraph in P.M. Gazette of 13th.
Evening. Visitors. G. V. Maynard, D. L. Pike (healer), Capt. David Dey, Mrs.
Bacon (of Boston), Mrs. Gridley an ex-professional medium, Mrs. Hallett of Boston,
and Mons. Frank Daulte, Private Secretary to Chief Justice Daly of the Court of
Common Pleas. M. Daulte made application and was initiated into T.S.
October 27. The Sabbath! The Lord’s (not Lord Beaconfield’s) Day.
“This is the Day the Lord has made.
He calls the hours His own.”
Worked like the devil all day at cooking, setting the table, washing dishes, etc.
Wrote H.C.C. more about Blake case, sending him extracts from correspondence
bet. Massey and Blake, and C.C.M.’s comments on “the little Brown Man.”
H.P.B. wrote Massey and sent copies of the Sun, containing my reply to the Pall
Mall Gazette article on the A.S., as well as the Sun’s own Editorial of the previous
day, to H.C.C. and others.
Evening. Mrs. Daniels, Marble, O’Donovan, Tom, Mr. Shinn. Delivered to Mrs.
Daniels her Diploma and also that of D. F. Hayden, Editor of the Providence Press,
Prov., R.I. Gave her a paper empowering her to initiate Mr. Hayden.
Shinn and others looked over all the photo. albums.
October 28. Canvassing for Syndicate continued. Good prospects.
Evening. O’Donovan. Wimb., Ranee and I went to Broadway Theatre to see
Miss Von Stamwitz in “Messalina. Empress of Rome.” Comical.
Afterwards. Wrote letter to Ed., Pall Mall Gazette threatening to publish the
story of the little Brown Man if he didn’t do the square thing. Also to C.C.M.
forwarding the above and requesting him to hand it personally to Greenwood.
October 29. Canvassing continued. Brewster and Co., join Syndicate. Frank
Daulle called.
Evening. Went to Union Sq. Theatre to see “Mother and Son.” Saw Tom for the
first time on the stage. Looked her part well.
Sent photo No. 2 of group to Mohottiwatte Gunananda and Otho Alexander.
Page 417
October 30. Judge in the morning. All day alone.
Dinner. Tom and Linda Dietz, O’Donovan.
Evening. H.S.O. gone to Philadelphia. H.P.B. remained alone with Charles 47
who purred all the evening near the fire. Wimb. went Tile Club and returned at 1 a.m.
October 31. Ditson—letter and photo sent from Albany.—Judge writes to Dear
—wants to know whether his vision of a party come to bribe him into betraying the
T.S. was a reality. And whether Poodi’s bell, who rang his chimes on his upper lip
was sent by any of us. Answered both. Went to see Macgrath and Wimb. Came back
and found A. Wilder and Prof. Woodward of the Medical College. Latter got
enchanted by H.P.B.’s unsophisticated graces and both remained to dinner. Then after
dinner came Marquette and took her diploma. Went away. Wimb. sick—got the chills.
Daulte came and passed evening, then Batchelor and Tomlinson. No letters.
November 1. A postal card from H.S.O.—When can I get Curtis to write about
Sosiosh.48 No one whole day. Wimb. bad cold, remained at home. Dined alone with
him, thank goodness! Evening five double bells and no one,—mistake, except
another card from H.S.O.; wants his black leather portfolio with certificates. Sent
with Wimb. by express. H.P.B. finished her article for Pravda.
November 2. H.S.O. writes to say he comes back.—Thus his black portfolio
need not be sent to Philadelphia. H.P.B. went to 60th St. 23 to see Mrs. Rhine but
found her not for she went to try and get brother to 18th Street at Mr. Pollock—her
brother-in-law. Talked with Mrs. Barnett an hour or so, and then H.P.B. returned
home on foot through the Park. Lovely day. Sat under the trees near the pond and
caught chill.
Came home at 3 and found Belle Mitchell—poor, dear soul! Miss Bates came
home. Letter from Hurrychund. Thinks we are going directly and writes but two
words. Well . . . Vediamo!
H.S.O. turned up at 7 and reports good progress. A friend of Wim’s, Mr. Gus
Petri, came. He is a kind-hearted psychological fellow. Has gift of prophecy and
vision. Foretold H.P.B.’s death at sea suddenly. Doubted that she would reach
Bombay. Hinted shipwreck for us all, in which Wim and I would be saved and H.P.B.
lost! Goak!
Page 418
November 3. Wrote business letters to further Syndicate affair.
Evening. Tom, Batchelor, O’Donovan, Marble and the Bombay quartette.
November 4. Secured subscriptions of Brewster & Co., and Valentine & Co., T.
C. Howell & Co., leather, offered me a consignment of $500 worth of leather. Or that
if I got them one order from Bombay or Calcutta they would subscribe.
Evening. Batchelor, Curtis and the Bombay 4.
Today received Curtis’s article on Dyanand Saraswati in Rev. Dr. Deems’
“Sunday Magazine.”
November 5. Silence. Letter from Evans, wants to come on Monday and be
initiated. Answered.
Evening.—Dr. Pike.
November 6. Mrs. Thompson came. Sniffled. H.P.B. “guessed” wouldn’t buy
anything more.
Evening. Wim. went to Tile Club. Alone with Miss Bates.
November 7. Worked all day. Letter from Otho Alexander. Letters from Hurry
Ch. Sends portraits of various princes and “Fellows.” Holkar’s also. Says he grows
with every day fonder of H.P.B. Curtis dinner; writes article for Herald on the four
Evening. Curtis, Harrisse—Daulte brings portrait and self-writing pen.—Jack
Passit, gave diploma to him and made him pay $5. Promised to bring rich man to give
toward fund of the Arya Samaj.
No letters from Junior.
November 8. Letter from Junior—not a damned thing in it. Curtis came at 12
and wrote his article on the 4 Saviours for Herald. Lunch: Letters from Massey—E.
K.—declares she will stick by C.C.B. and asks mercy for him!! She be damned.
Massey dissatisfied because the Billings, Wyld and Thomas won’t have C.C.B. for a
Fellow. Letter from Thomas; a good and honest one. Sent both to Hurrychund. Wrote
to him—answer.
Evening.—All alone—only Maynard. Worked.
November 9. Body sick and no hot water to bathe it. Nice caboose. Worked all
day. Belle Mitchell came and kept company with us for three hours—dear and pure
Page 419
Letter from Junior. Becomes a lecturer. Aye. Returns Monday. It’s time; and
leaves half-things undone in Boston. So says—Senior.49
Evening. The sad Gay lord, from Brooklyn. Assembly of women. Mrs. Haskell
with Mrs. Longstreet—a literary lady,—Dr. Pike with Mrs. Mary Don and Mrs. L. L.
Denny from Georgia South. Then Mrs. Hallet. Miss Bates saved me by entertaining
November 10. Morning.—Maynard called and brought his little girl. Dinner 3.
After dinner Marble,—Curtis,—Pike,—Blackmore, Mrs. Hallet,—Tom.
Evening ditto. Pike fell into a trance and gave flapdoodle. Curtis played at
Manfred. No Peck. Botheration of a cold.
Pike asked Miss B. whether H.P.B. had money; then whether Wim. could lend
him some. Having received negative answers to all his questions he departed
November 11. Very big cold.—Afternoon at 5 p.m. a man came; would not allow
Jenny to announce him and gave no name; forced himself after her, and introduced
himself—very strangely. An old, respectable white-haired party. As soon as seated, he
mildly declared that he had come to subpoena H.P.B. in the Vanderbilt case!! H.P.B.
told him she did not know the Commodore, never saw him. Yet, the old party served
her with a paper in which the “people of New York State” commanded the new
citizen to appear in the court of the Surrogate and say all she knew; after which he
delivered to her on behalf of “the people” a silver dollar, gave hell to Beecher, and
said the old Commodore was no better, paid compliments, said that Mr. Lord had
charged him to tell H.P.B. that they would give her “plenty of money” if she helped
them to win the case and—departed.
Evans of Washington did not come.
November 12. Fearful sleepless night on account of the cold and coughing. Got
up at 8, sent for a carriage and went 258 Broadway to Lord’s office; was received
politely and cuddled; declared (H.P.B.) she knew nothing; but was asked to
remember, and try to think of something!! Was asked to go to court, and promised
money again.
Page 420
H.P.B. went to court and produced sensation being seated on witness’s chair.
William Vanderbilt and lawyers stared at her all the time. Would not swear on the
Bible and declared herself a—heathen. Disgusted went away. Vanderbilt’s lawyer ran
after her, and tried to make friends; was sent to Hell. Her carriage was followed by
another carriage. Will wait developments. Judge at dinner.
Evening Mr. and Mrs. O’Sullivan. Theological and anti-Christian conversation.
H.P.B. played a trick on them by suddenly fainting to the great dismay of Bates and
Wim. Used the greatest willpower to put up the body on its legs.
Letter from C. Daniels. Wants biography for a series of Boston Index or
something else of articles on H.P.B.
November 13. Moloney back.
Brought letters from H.C.C. and Shyamjee.—Sick. Answered letters. Miss Bates
posted letter to Vera Jelihovsky50 and H. C. Chintamon. Marble took off the canopy
and made himself generally useful.
November 14. Same.
Curtis at dinner.
Evening. Dr. Pike and Mrs. Hallet. Gaylord came in for a moment. Naray
decamped and Morya walked in—broken finger and all. Came with definite orders
from Serapis. Have to go; the latest from 15 to 20th Dec. Wimb. bothered by lawsuit,
very gloomy.
Declared intentions to Bates and Wim. Taffy—Bates going to London before us.
On the 1st probably.
O God, O Indra of the golden face! Is this really the beginning and the end!
November 15. Cobb spent the evening with me in the dining-room, but would
not see H.P.B.
November 16. Curtis to dine and got points for Sun article on the auction.
Maynard and Dr. Baruch, a mystical Hebrew physician. A strange, very strange
Page 421
Has a prescience as to visitors’ death and a spiritual insight as to disease. Old,
thin, stooped; his thin, fine, grizzled hair stands out every way from his noble head.
Rouges his cheeks to relieve their natural pallor. Has a habit of throwing his head far
back and looking up into space, as he listens or converses. His complexion waxen,
skin transparent and as thin as tissue paper. Wears thin Summer clothes in the depth
of winter, Peculiar habit to say, when answering: “Vell, see he-ere, tee-ar!”
November 17. Visitors evening. Curtis, Dr. Pike, Mrs. Hallet, Mr. Dye (Nibs—
the Infant Prodigy), Tom Cowell, Linda Dietz, O’Donovan, M... read the girls’
fortunes in cards (?) to their considerable astonishment.
November 18. Letters today from C.C.M., Carter Blake (2), Palmer Thomas, Dr.
Wyld (with his photo), O. Alexander, and others.
November 19. To dinner Paris (just back from Colorado) and Marble besides
our quartette.
Evening. Mr. and Mrs. Maynard, Mrs. Dr. Edward Bradley, escorted by
Batchelor, Curtis and Marble.
Dad pulled out and gave Taffy a lock of hair—the kind that looks to the
missionaries like the edge of a thundercloud! Major Poud-hi rang his bell for the first
time in months.
November 20. Letter from Mr. Blodget encouraging me about Syndicate and
promising that the papers shall be forthcoming from Washington.
H.P.B. received from Revd. W. Ayton, Vicar of Chacombe, Eng., the MSS of his
translation of J. Trithemius’s prophecies.
Evening: Held the Vedic ceremony of casting the Baron de Palm’s ashes into the
sea. A highly interesting episode. Our mysterious Hindoo Brother ... was present with
his helper [. . .]51 H.S.O. cast the ashes into the waters of N. Y. Bay at exactly 7:45
November 21. Wim. in trouble from a blackmailing lawyer in the matter of the
Photo Plate Co.
In Sun, Curtis’s description of the ash ceremony of last evening. Evening
Telegram copies it and pretends it is its own enterprise that secured it! Taffy52 all
astral tears from dread of Wim.’s being arrested. Orders from Headquarters to sail on
December 7th or 17th, and to pack up at once.
Evening. Mr. Daulte and Batchelor here. The former put $3 silver into Arya
Samaj fund.
November 22. Wim. dodging the sheriff’s writ and baffling the blackguards who
want to lock him up. Curtis dined and worked on his article on the auction at the
Page 422
Two spiritualists called but were turned off. No other visitors.
Bought Taffy’s ticket to Liverpool by the Wisconsin Tuesday next—Price $30.
November 23. Sent third and last photograph to Mohottiwatte Gunananda and
Otho Alexander. Mrs. Fowler-Wells called in the evening and confided to us certain
designs of old Joe Buchanan which make me laugh. His game is so transparent.
November 24. All hands packing trunks preparatory to Taffy’s departure
tomorrow evening.
Evening. Mr., Mrs. and Miss Lakey, Batchelor, Mrs. Hallett, Mr. Shinn,
Macgrath, 3 Italians (one the friend of Chaille Long).
November 25. Skirmishers to the front! Taffy went aboard ship this evening, and
Wim. and I in parting left her in tears. Mr. A. H. Underhill, Freight Manager of the
Guion Line was aboard and kindly interfered with the ship’s officers to have Taffy
well looked after. Two trunks of H.P.B.53 went by same vessel to L’pool to await our
O’Donovan and A. Gustam dined with us, and after dinner they two and Wim.
and I measured heights of body sitting on the floor backs against wall. I never saw
this curious experiment before, and was amused and surprised at the result. Wim’s
legs were 5 or 6 inches longer than Gustam’s and mine, while his body was more than
half a head shorter.
November 26. Had a delightful interview with Mrs. Willcox, who feels the same
as ever and will be a most useful ally in a certain quarter.
News from Hartmann that Westbook has decided the Albany case in favour of
the Receiver. Thus two card prophecies made last evening of Taffy are already
Wrote Mooljee to receive samples of goods shipped by the Syndicate to his care.
November 27. Bright prospects for Syndicate. Had a very valuable talk with
Henry Lewis about Reading R. Rd contribution and at his request wrote him a letter
to lay before the Reading Board.
Evening. Call from James R. Heenan of the National Assd Press, 145 Broadway,
on behalf of the Boston Globe, and gave him the points about the Holmes mediums
(?). Batchelor also called. Wim. at Tile Club.
November 28. Thanksgiving Day—and my last in the U.S.
I dined with Emmet R. Olcott54 at 2 and took the 4½ p.m. boat for Fall River.
Wim. brought Pietri and Macgrath to dinner. H.P.B. had dinner at 3.
Page 423
Marble turned in, and as Jenny55 went away made himself as useful as he is
Evening. Pietri laid out cards for H.P.B. Prognosticated delay for departure but
safe arrival to Bombay. Also death through murder for H.P.B. in 8 years, at the age of
90 (!!). Nothing like clairvoyance.
Mrs. Haskell—and daughter, a Mrs. Parsons, and Dr. Pike. Talked H.P.B.
From 10½ alone with Wim. Go to bed directly.
Paid Jenny 5.
November 29. Morning.—Letters from Mrs. Daniels, a Mr. J. D. Dr. Buck,
Cincinnati, 305 Rose St.—wants to join Society (answered and circular sent), and
Had seven letters to write and no money and no stamps. Had to call Sahib.—
Got fearfully mad.—Well, it is no fault of mine. Alas! poor “Junior”—if he only
knew what he does not know. If he reads this—let him remember—à bon entendeur
salut. M... gave 50 cents for stamps.
Answered the Russian aunt; Buck, Wilder, Daniels—wrote for portraits to
Hayden and Brown. Wrote Judge likewise.
Dinner. Enlivened by a telegram from Judge to Wimb. Tells him “to wait for
him early in the morning, important news”;—perhaps arrest! If so, Wimb. will have
to clear out before us to London. Let him go to France.
Evening. Blues—crisles and other piggish feelings.—
Our solitary Curtis—rang dumb-waiter bell at nearly 11. Told that Dana was
opposed to having a new article about “the Madam”—and so Curtis took his article
on the “Lottery in the Lamasery” to the World.
November 30. Belle Mitchell came at 12, and took away the Sahib for a walk
and drive. Went to Macy’s. Had to materialize rupees. H.P.B. came home at 4. No one
at dinner but Paris.
After dinner. Paris signed an application and went off with his violin to a party.
Wim. also went off and returned at 2 p.m.
Page 424
Evening. Maynard—helped the orphlin to pass time and made himself
generally useful. Mrs. Wells came and brought a heap of Phrenol. Journals.
A letter brought from Judge by Wimbridge from office. H. C. Chintamon writes
a declaration of love and sends official letter to the Council through H.P.B. Snubs
them all very politely.
Letter from E. Kislingbury with resignation in it. Too Christian! Too Blakian I
should say. Oh this villainous brood! When shall we be rid of it!
December 1. About—from 17 to 23 days left. We will see how the Junior will
be ready!
Morning, H.P.B. in bath, heard H.S.O.’s melodious voice—the Junior had
returned from Providence. Got “Tool Company” to sign for $500. Saw Hayden, the
latter coming here Saturday.
Furniture and rest must be sold or disposed of before the 12th. ORDERS.
Dinner. The faithful Marble turned in. Now O’Donovan and Batchelor. Who
next? H.P.B. answered H.C.C. Bombay. He will receive the letter a fortnight before
her arrival. All right.
Evening. Mr. and Mrs. Maynard, “Tom,” Marble, Batchelor, O’Donovan,
Curtis, Col. Chaille Long.
December 2. Letters from H. J. Billing,—Palmer Thomas, and a fool from
Chicago—Stanley Sexton, 2 Park Row.—The latter demands to join the T.S. and to
take “three times three” degrees from the first. Enquires whether H.P.B. saw or felt
this magnetic subject’s double five months ago. The ass! Answered all the letters.
Fearful rain. Wimb. did not go to the office but lounged in the arm chair by
H.P.B.’s side and slept soundly. H.S.O. gone this morning to Philadelphia. His last
and conclusive trip he says. Well—may I.—speed him.57 Paris at dinner.
Evening. A Mr. Thompson from Montreal, Ex-clergyman whose eyes were
opened to the fraud of Xtianity; who read Isis, “learned much in it,” and was bound to
see its author.
Page 425
Harrisse came, disgusted at Thompson’s serious talk, walked off into dining-room
and retired early. Found the Rosy Cross Jewel58 missing from the bureau drawer.
Know who took it. It will come back.59 Daulte came in late and put $3 into Arya
Samaj fund. Noble man!
December 3. Letters from Evans (Wash.) gushes—flap-doodles and winds up by
saying that it is his kismet fate to join us in India.
Went for Sahib’s errand today.
Marble brought album, and fixed day for auction sale on Tuesday next Dec. 10.
Judge at dinner.
Evening. Letter postal card from Miss Ellen Burr—sends 10 copies with Mrs.
D’s article in. Profession of regret at departure. Curtis, Judge, Wimb., and H.P.B.
produces a charm.—Mrs. Wells comes for her talisman; receives it; makes a present
of a new book with H.P.B.’s portrait in it as a Lama. Wimb. decorates it with
moustache and beard. H.P.B. gives to Mrs. Wells the two vases.
December 4. 10 copies of Hartford Daily Times at hand. Gushing and flattering
article. Sent copies to Bombay, London—(Massey and Thomas), Corfu and
Washington to disconsolate Evans. Postal card from Ammi Brown. Will send photo,
—if not ready—to India.—Postal card from H.S.O., writes of great success—went
last night to Washington. Vediamo. Last night Judge slept here. H.P.B. went out for
postage stamps—another third row with Sahib.
Cheek swollen again. A row with Jenny. Claims $9 owed her by H.S.O. from
Wim. and H.P.B. Neither could satisfy her. W. gave her $2, and she swore that her
landlord would put her on sidewalk. Can’t help it. Somewhat able to get money for
“body” and our needs—for Jenny—no orders.
Wrote to Miss F. E. Burr asking for portrait and thanking for papers.
Dinner. Telegram from W. Q. Judge to Wimb. “Motion denied,” etc. W. in
despair and prison crisles again. Time to clear out.
Page 426
Evening. Mrs. Haskell of 116 West 29th St. with daughter, a young girl studying
medicine; brought a Mrs. Elizabeth K. Churchill from Providence, editorial writer—
going to write us up, and Miss Alice C. Fletcher, and Dr. Bennett, a psychic Doctor
(whatever it means). Mrs. Haskell invites H.P.B. after breaking up home to come and
sleep at her home and pass a few days with her.—Letters from Hurrychund.
December 5. Judge came early. The only thing he asks Wimb. to do is to keep
quiet till his departure; but our Don Quixote cannot promise it. Well, if he gets into
jail it will be his own fault, and then—good-bye. No waiting. Letter from Junior to
M. Has good hopes of making his entrée into Bombay with the Govt. seal stamped
upon his back side.60 Vediamo. Got samples of ore for M...—so much the less
trouble for [ . . . ]61
Letter from Mrs. Ames. Supplicates to come and see her. Says her Ned is
overjoyed at the idea. Don’t feel like it— don’t feel at all!
Taffy in Liverpool, we suppose.—12 days more! Marble came. Carpentering
over the broken chair to make it look respectable at the auction sale.
Sale Tuesday next. He passed the whole afternoon preparing all, hanging picture
frames and taking notes. Good and honest soul. Wimb. went away after dinner to
pack up. H.P.B. remained alone with Marble, then came Daulte and remained till 12.
December 6. A letter from Richard and Boag informing of the arrival from
Russia of a parcel. Went down town with Wimb.
Just come from Rich. and Boag. Received Mme. Jelihovsky’s book and papers;
also letter stating in despair that no parcel had arrived yet from America! And this on
the 29th of October, five months after it was sent!! Olcott has to see, or get insurance
money back.
We got cold again, I think. Oh, unfortunate, empty, rotten old body!
After dinner Wimb. was sorely surprised by the arrival of Sinclair and Moses.
Page 427
Thought they were going to arrest him. They came for a compromise. If he does
not make a fool of himself he will be free of all trouble tomorrow.—He plays his last
Evening. Pike and Hallet. Wimb. went to his office. When at 12 they wanted to
go home, the door downstairs could not be opened! Latch and knob were broken.
They returned and sat till 2. At last H.P.B. suggested that a policeman should be
called through kitchen window, and he broke door and so liberated them. Wimb.
came home half past two.
December 7. No letters from H.S.O. A letter from Miss Ellen F. Burr, with a
dollar enclosed in it for my portrait. Cannot give hers as it always represents her as if
drunk. Wants me to write for their paper from India. Have to go and have some made
Letter from Billing—says a voice was heard in their drawing-room which told
them there were but four theosoph. in London who should be taught by him
theosophy,—when asked who he was answered: “One of the Brothers from India.”
Thomas was present.
Judge came this morning. Last night went to Tiflis, and learnt that parcel was
just received finally, and that Mme. Jelihovsky had sold her bird for 30 roubles! She
must have been starving.
Wimb. wound up matters—all safe now. Sold monkey and brought money.
H.P.B. with Marble the whole day preparing for auction. Bought a stateroom trunk, 4
doll. Had photos taken $3 a dozen.
Evening. Letters from Otho Alexander, Nicolaides and three for Olcott. Marble,
Batchelor and Thompson from Montreal.
December 8. Miss Potter came and she, H.P.B. and Wimb. went all to
photographer. H.P.B. was taken with Wim., a group!! Miss Potter will call on Tuesday
We write from the closet room, anciently occupied by H.S.O. where Marble
drove us in under the pretext of auction. Sent Stars with Curtis’ article on H.P.B.’s
lottery to Hurrychund, Mooljee, Thomas and Otho Alexander, also letter to Vera
Page 428
Pike was first to make his appearance—and welcome; for Jenny went away at
three, and Marble drove me nearly crazy fidgeting.
Evening Visitors. Blackmore and Clough—latter wants his diploma. Then Curtis,
Maynard with a Captain Hommons (a mystic and seer and a Rosicrucian). Then Tom,
with Wimb. and O’Donovan, finally Paris broke gas lamp and carried off lots of
rubbish—Marble went to sleep on four chairs with no mattress in dining room.
Tomorrow good-bye all. But—will H.S.O. be ready? That’s the question. One,
only one week more! God help him if he fails . . . . [ . . . . . ]62
December 9. Went to bed at four and was aroused at 6—thanks to Marble, who
locked the door and Jennie could not get in. Got up breakfasted and went off to meet [
. . . . ]63—Battery. Came home at 2. Most infernal row and hullaballoo at auction. All
went for a song, as they say in America. If Marble surpassed himself in kindness he
did the same in zeal. He sold at auction Levi’s,—the landlord’s three window shades
for 50 cents ! ! !
Curtis came to look out for an article on the sale. Levi the landlord came and
demanded his money believing H.P.B. was going away with the furniture. The grocer
insulted Jenny and saying that over $100 being due to him he would not trust for one
penny more. Elegant.—
Auctioneer took big clock—promised to sell for 60 dollars.
Capt. Hommons came with Maynard,—gave N: 64 the grip and password of the
Madagascar [ . . . . ]65 and therefore was accepted as a Fellow, signed the obligation,
paid Maynard $5 initiation to be sent to Hurrychund and went off.
5 o’clock—Everything gone. Baron de Palm—adieu.
Evening. Curtis came to write article. Marble prostrated. Wimb. gone office.—
Evans from Philadelphia turns up to fetch me! Impossible. Suddenly H.S.O. makes
his appearance.
Page 429
Bosses and patronises Wimb. at night until the latter becomes raving mad! H.S.O.
calls the [ . . . .] 66 “old horse.”
December 10. We breakfast on a board three inches wide. Letter from Daniels
and Evans. Article in Herald “Mad. Blavatsky” appears. A reporter from the Graphic
comes to interview H.P.B. Is respectfully begged to go to the devil.
H.P.B. writes to Buck, Cincinnati,—to Ellen Burr, Hartford,—and to Hyde and
sends him back his diploma. Two rich Jewesses, Mrs. and Miss Hoymen, produce a
sudden siege and force themselves in. She wants to join the Society and signs
Evening. H.S.O. lends M ... 100 dollars.
December 11. Letters from Miss Burr. Marble flap-doodling all day.
Visitors, visitors, visitors.
H.S.O. lends Morya $100.
Went out on a jamboree with Judge.
December 12. Letters,—from everywhere. H.S.O. goes Orange to Belle. and
H.P.B. has teeth extracted and does not go. Send replies and buy things.
Evening.—Curtis comes and invites to Fulton’s theatre. Tom at dinner, and
brings album. Marble flapdoodles and fidgets—sets me mad. Harrisse after dinner.
Dr. Weisse brings his new book on philology and we remain at home. Doulton Fulton
and the son of Stephen Pearl Andrews!
H.S.O. does not go to sleep at all and
December 13. [H.S.O.] goes to Menloe Park to Edison67 about phonograph.
H.P.B. sick; telegraphs to Belle Mitchell who comes from Orange and passes day
with her.
Visitors, visitors. Articles in all papers. Mrs. Wells is initiated. Mrs. Ames comes
with daughter and is also initiated. Curtis. Our photographs brought. Sent to Miss
Burr to Thomas and Wyld, England.
Orders—go from Philadelphia. Kali suspects departure and thinks of arresting
H.S.O. He receives his regular nomination from the Govt. and appointed
commissioner with special passport.
Page 430
He has to go to Phil. on Monday or Tuesday too.
Never return to New York.
Judge and Wim. and H.S.O. and Morya in consultation till 4 a.m.
December 14. H.S.O. gone off early. Wimb. and Judge trying to help H.P.B.
Today the trunks must go.—They do go—care of Hur. Chund, Bombay. So much the
less. Tales feeling a sudden love for H.P.B. sends carriage and boy after her. Positive
refusal.—Miss Potter came and wants to join Theosophical. Promises to send $5.
Vediamo. Marble comes and—H.P.B. falls asleep.
H.S.O. returns with phonograph weighing 100 pounds. General Doubleday
came.—Went away as he came. Wimb. on a jamboree with tile club men again. He
takes it easy. Poor H.S.O. had barely the time to swallow three spoonfuls of soup and
went off. H.P.B. dines alone with Charles purring and Marble jabbering. H.S.O. will
have to go to Philadelphia. We send trunks by train on Monday night; and go—when
H.S.O. writes he is ready. Wise determination of “old Horse.”
Marble—fidgeted and sent telegram to A. C. Wilder. Tile Club gave Wimb. a
dinner at Monico’s Hotel. Wimb. DRANK.
Olcott back at 10—and passed evening writing letters. Sent Edison’s photo to
Constant [inople], Corfu and London. Phonograph whistles.68
December 15. Whole day packing up.
Dinner. Paris, Wimb., Tom, Marbles and Gustam.
Evening. Two Judges—Wm. and John.—The latter initiated. Wilder,—Dr.
Weisse, Shin and Ferris, Two brothers Langham, Clough,—Curtis. Griggs came from
Connect. to be initiated. O’Sullivan and Johnston of the phonograph. All sent
speeches to the Brothers in India. Mrs. Wells, Mrs. Ames and daughter, Maynard,
O’Donovan and a painter who came with Mrs. Ames.
Edison was represented by E. H. Johnson.
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December 16. Packing up. H.P.B. went to O.’s office and destroyed papers.
Changed money into English bank notes. Met at office Maynard, Marble, Griggs.
Olcott came home after. Wimb. disappeared till 2 p.m.
Evening. Brosnan, brought presents to Olcott, Wilder, Dr. Gunn and Dr.
Campbell, O’Sullivan and wife, Tomlinson, Maynard and wife.
Letters from Massey, Taffy and Billing.
December 17. Great day! Olcott packed up. At 10 he thought going to Phil. At
12 [ . . . . ]69 stepped in and— as he [H.S.O.] would have no more money coming,
and received his last $500 from Reading Co.—he concluded to send him off from
New York tomorrow or the day after. Bouton came and gave three copies.—Dr.
Weisse brought two copies also for the Bombay and Calcutta papers.
Marble fidgeted but made himself useful. Tom the whole day.
What next? All dark—but tranquil.
Olcott returned at 7 with three tickets for the British steamboat the “Canada.”
Wrote letters till 11½. Curtis and Judge passed the evening. Maynard took H.P.B. to
dinner to his home. She returned home at 9. Maynard made a present of a tobacco
pouch. Charles lost ! !71 At nearly 12 H.S.O. and H.P.B. took leave of the
chandelier72 and drove off in a carriage to the steamer, leaving Marble to sleep at
home and wait for Wimbridge who was taking leave of Tom until a very late hour.
December 18. Passed last night on the “Canada.” Got frozen, sleeping in wet
blankets and passed a sleepless night, but S———— 73 had the best of us and we
did leave the American soil on the 17th. H.P.B. in trances of fear for H.S.O. (Kali)
and Wimb. (Sinclair) who both had a right to prevent their leaving America—till the
moment of departure. Instead of leaving at 11 the steamer left at 2½. Both Judges
came on board. Curtis, Paris, O’Donovan,
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Page 433
Mac Grath, Tom. Maynard brought H.P.B. a silver tankard with the initials—
Good fellow. Tom remained with O’Donovan till the last moment. Touching scene.
He on deck she waiting on wharf. Poor girl, she really felt for us. At last we sailed off
at 3,—ran three or four miles and— dropped anchor off Coney Island waiting for
tide. H.P.B. who had begun breathing collapsed in fear again for Kali might hearing
of H.S.O. departure on the 19th send after him, etc., etc. No real fear, but great
exhaustion in order to ward off danger from H.S.O.
Evening. Made acquaintance with a Mrs. Wise, Capt. and Mrs. Payton, a Revd.
and a young Mr. Wansborough. After tea theological dispute with the Rev.
December 19. Magnificent day. Clear, blue cloudless but—devilish cold. Fits of
fear lasted till 11 (the body is difficult to manage—Spirit strong but flesh very weak).
At last at 121/2 the pilot took the steamer across the Sandy Hook bar. Fortunately we
did not get stuck in the sand.
(No danger of that. O.)
All day eating—at 8, 12, 4 and 7. H.P.B. eats like three hogs. Wrote letters to
Judge, Billing—London and Brosnan. Wimb. wrote to Tom. Yesterday morning
Judge brought to me on the steamer Hurrychund’s letter of Nov. 18, the last I will
receive from him in America. (How very wise!)
December 20. Still splendid weather, wind abaft, and sea very quiet. Slight
motion to ship, but not enough to speak of. Yet H.P.B. the only woman at table.
Last eve after tea had my first set-to with the Revd. Sturge (who has a mouth like a
sturgeon). He’s an eloquent, oily chap but apparently an easy antagonist to handle.
The debate drew from Capt. Payton the admission that missionaries were an
unmitigated nuisance. He believed they caused the Sepoy Mutiny.
December 21. Good weather. Little motion. Monotonous and stupid. Several
tugs with the Revd. Sturge. Eating all day.
December 22. Weather changed. Wind and gale. Rain and fog. Came pouring
into the saloon skylarks [? sky- lights]. Everyone seasick except Mrs. Wise and
H.P.B. Captain Payton and the Revd played piano and Moloney sang songs.
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December 23. The same. Only Moloney and Wimb. sick and flapdoodle all day.
Weather cleared up.
Evening. After a beautiful day, a fearful gale. Captain telling fearful stories of
shipwreck and drowning the whole evening. Mrs. Wise and Mrs. Payton frightened
out of their wits.
December 24. Night of tossing and rolling. H.S.O. sick in bed.—Monotonous,
stupid, wearisome. Oh for the land —oh for India and home!
[These Notes correspond with the superior numbers in
the text of H.P.B.’s Diaries.]
1 Mrs. Isabel B. Mitchell (Isabella Buloid), born Feb. 23, 1835, married in May,
1860, to Wm. H. Mitchell. She was Col. H. S. Olcott’s oldest sister for whom he had
a deep affection all his life.
2 Charles Sotheran, one of the original “formers” of the T.S. He was a relative of
the London booksellers of the same name. He was also with Sabin & Sons,
booksellers in New York, and connected in a literary way with their journal The
American Bibliopolist. Sotheran had a peculiar temperament. Three mouths after the
Society was founded, trouble arose, as Sotheran made inflammatory speeches at a
political street meeting and wrote bitterly in the newspapers against H.P.B. and the
Society. His resignation was accepted, and, for the sake of protection, the Society was
made into a secret body, with signs and passwords. Later on, Sotheran apologized and
was taken back into membership. He gave useful help to H.P.B. during the writing of
Isis Unveiled, and published a small short-lived journal called The Echo, in which
H.P.B. wrote a couple of articles. After the Founders’ departure for India, his name
was not again mentioned. See Bio-Bibliogr. Index for further data.
3 Emily Kislingbury.
4 Nickname which H.P.B. gave to Col. Olcott.
5 Edward Wimbridge. See Bio-Bibliogr. Index for data.
6 A manner in which Col. Olcott used to refer to himself.
7 Miss Nadyezhda Andreyevna de Fadeyev (1829-1919), H.P.B.’s favorite aunt,
her mother’s sister who was only two years her senior.
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Many of her letters to H.P.B. are in the Adyar Archives. For a time she was on the
Council of the T.S. She remained unmarried and died in Prague, Czechoslovakia.
8 The “Seven Brothers,” a secret organization then existing in India, having as a
Ritual something akin to Masonry. John Yarker who issued to H.P.B. her Masonic
certificate in the “Rite of Adoption” had evidently a copy of the Sat B’hai ritual and
sent it to H.P.B At the time a ceremony of admission for members of the T.S. was
planned, but nothing further was done in this matter.
9 The Adept-Brother known as Hilarion, Ilarion, and Hillarion Smerdis, who,
among other things, collaborated with H.P.B. in the writing of her occult stories.
10 Hurrichund (or Harichandra) Chintamon was the representative in Bombay of
Swâmi Dayânanda Sarasvatî, the head of the Ârya Samâja, founded in 1875. The T.S.
in New York joined hands with this organization and for a while diplomas were
issued with the words: “The Theosophical Society of the Ârya Samâj of Âryavarta.”
Later on acute differences occurred, which are outlined in the Supplements to The
Theosophist of this period, and all association with the Ârya Samâja was severed. A
good deal may be found on this subject in Col. Olcott’s Old Diary Leaves, Volume I.
11 James M. Stewart, Editor of the Franklin Register, Franklin, Mass.
12 Religio-Philosophical Journal published in Chicago, Ill.
13 “M. A. (Oxon.)” was the pseudonym of Rev. William Stainton Moses (or
Moseyn) (1840-92), at one time Editor of the Spiritualistic magazine Light, and a
very good friend of the Founders. Consult Col. Olcott’s Old Diary Leaves, Vol. I on
this subject. See also the B.-B. Index, s. v. MOSES.
14 Pravda (Truth) was a daily newspaper published at Odessa, Russia, 1877-80.
Its Editors-Publishers were Joseph Dolivo-Dobrovolsky and K. E. Rosen. Starting in
early 1878, H.P.B. wrote for it a number of “Letters,” under the general title “From
Across the Sea, from Beyond the Blue Ocean.”
15 Monsieur Harrisse was a Frenchman in New York with whom the Founders
were on friendly terms. He was an amateur artist. One evening H.P.B. asked him to
draw the head of a Hindu chieftain, as he should conceive one to look. Evidently with
the unspoken help of H.P.B. who sat near him, Harrisse produced in black and white
crayons the first portrait of Master M. ever drawn. After the portrait was finished, the
cryptograph signature of the Master was precipitated upon it. Vide Col. Olcott’s Old
Diary Leaves, I, 370-72, for a full account of the circumstances involved.
16 Dr. Alexander Wilder (1823-1908), well-known physician and a deep scholar
of Classical languages and philosophies. Collaborated in the production of Isis
Unveiled. See the Bio-Bibliographical Index for comprehensive sketch of his life and
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17 Most likely the then recently published work by Louis Rousselet entitled
l’lnde des Rajahs. Voyage dans l’lnde Centrale, Paris, 1875.
18 Dr. L. M. Marquette, a woman-physician, who met H.P.B. in Paris in 1873,
when she stayed with her cousin Nicholas von Hahn and his friend M. Lequeux, and
who knew her intimately. Vide Col. Olcott’s Old Diary Leaves, I, 27-28, for Dr.
Marquette’s testimonial in regard to H.P.B.’s character.
19 Russkiy Vestnik (Russian Messenger), very well-known Russian monthly
Journal published in Moscow. It was founded by the outstanding journalist and
political leader M. N. Katkov, in 1856. It was in this journal that appeared for many
years H.P.B.’s Series “From the Caves and Jungles of Hindostan,” “The Enigmatical
Tribes of the Azure-Blue Hills,” and “The Durbâr in Lahore.”
20 Gen. Abner Doubleday (1819-93), a prominent figure in the Civil war days
and founder of baseball. He was Vice-President of The Theosophical Society and a
close friend of H.P.B., Col. Olcott and W. Q. Judge. See Bio-Bibliographical Index
for further data.
21 Mrs. Helene von Schewitsch was an early friend of H.P.B.’s. She was an
author and socialite, born at Munich, March 21, 1845, as the daughter of Baron von
Dönniges (also spelt Tönniges); her mother was a cultured Jewish lady. Helene was
first married to a Rumanian Boyar, Janko von Racowitza who died soon; then to the
actor Siegwart Friedman from whom she was divorced; then to Serge von
Schewitsch, a Russian; this was about 1875. Unfortunately, Helene committed suicide
at Munich, October 3, 1911. She also seems to have been the cause of Lasalle’s duel
and death. In spite of being a very erratic and temperamental individual, she was
deeply interested in Theosophy and wrote about her experiences with H.P.B. in a
most friendly and understanding way. See her work entitled Wie Ich Mein Selbst
Fand (C. H. Schwetschke und Sohn, Berlin, 1901; 2nd ed., M. Altmann, Leipzig,
1911) published under her name of von Schewitsch. An English translation by Cecil
Mar was published by Constable & Co., London, 1910, under the title of Princess
Helene von Racowitza. An Autobiography. Pages 349-355, and 391 concern H.P.B.
Excerpts from the original German work have been published in translation in The
Theosophical Review, Vol. XXIX, January, 1902, pp. 386-88, 470-71.
22 Dr. C. Carter Blake seemed for a time to be devoted to Theosophical work,
but was a member of the Jesuit order when he joined the T.S. He was expelled from
the Society at a later date. See The Mahatma Letters, etc., Letter No. LIV, in this
23 Dr. George Wyld of Edinburgh.
24 Swâmi Dayânanda Sarasvatî of the Ârya Samâja in India.
25 Otho Alexander, an early member of the T.S. resident in Corfu, Greece.
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26 Pasquale Menelao, President of the Corfu Lodge of the T.S. which was
founded in 1877.
27 Mooljee Thackersey. Col. Olcott mentions meeting him on one of his early
travels before he had met H.P.B. The Founders started corresponding with him in
28 Pandit Shamji Krishnavarma was a man of stirling worth and great integrity
of character. He was born in 1857 and was at one time connected with the Ârya
Samâja. It was he who sent to the Founders in New York an English translation of the
Samâja’s Rules, which led them to rescind the Resolutions of the Council to
amalgamate the T.S. with Swâmi Dayânanda’s Society. Shortly after the Founders
settled in Bombay, Krishnavarma left India for Oxford, England, accepting the
position of Oriental Lecturer of Balliol College. Before taking this decision, he had a
serious consultation with H.P.B. and Col. Olcott. Within an incredibly short time, he
had mastered Greek and Latin and passed difficult examinations in Law and Political
Economy. He was appointed Lecturer in Sanskrit, Marâthî and Gujarâtî and assisted
Prof. Sir Monier Monier-Williams who had originally sponsored his arrival. Upon his
return to India, he was appointed to the Dewanship of the State of Junagadh. (See The
Theos., IV, Nov., 1882, p. 27 and Supplement to June, 1883, p. 12; V, Suppl. to Oct.,
1883, p. 14; and XVI, March, 1895, pp. 403-04).
29 General Francis J. Lippitt (1812-1902), a distinguished American military
man and Lecturer on Law. Was a friend of Lafayette and of De Toqueville whom he
assisted in the preparation of his works. He was an ardent Spiritualist and a great
friend of the Founders. See the B.-B. Index, s. v. LIPPITT.
30 C H. Van der Linden and Peter van der Linden, father and son, who joined
together and remained loyal members of the T.S. in America to the time of their
31 A reproduction of this plaque appears as frontispiece in Col. Olcott’s Old
Diary Leaves, Vol. I, but this illustration is of a copy in bronze now at Adyar,
evidently copied from the original plaster. H.P.B.’s name in Tamil was most likely
added when this copy was made in India.
32 Caroline Rollins Corson, wife of Prof. Hiram Corson of Cornell University,
Ithaca, N. Y., both of whom were close friends of H.P.B.’s in the early days. She was
born in France and educated in her native country and in Germany. Aside from
translation work, she also wrote some valuable articles on Faust, Machiavelli, Victor
Hugo and others.
33 Prince Emil-Karl-Ludvigovich von Sayn-Wittgenstein. See Bio-Bibliogr.
Index for data.
34 Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821-90), British explorer and
Orientalist, celebrated translator of the so-called “Arabian Nights.”
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35 “Tom” was Miss Sarah Cowell of New York, an actress.
36 Nickname for Col. Olcott’s wife. She was Mary Epplee Morgan, daughter of
the Rev. Richard U. Morgan, D. D., rector of Trinity parish, New Rochelle, N. Y.,
whom the Colonel married April 26, 1860.
37 Described by Col. Olcott in his Diary as “the Irish Lady who agitates for
Women’s Rights, etc.”
38 Charles Carleton Massey was an English Barrister-at-Law and literateur
keenly interested in Spiritualism. He was one of the ablest metaphysicians in England
and a lucid and scholarly writer on psychic subjects. He visited the U.S.A. in 1875,
and went to Chittenden, Vt. to verify for himself Col. Olcott’s accounts of the Eddy
phenomena Massey became one of the original “formers” of the T.S. However, after
several years of friendship, differences arose between him and the Founders. He
resigned when the Society for Psychical Research at tacked H.P.B. and gave allegedly
damaging evidence against her. He died in 1905. See Bio-Bibliogr. Index for further
39 Dr. Harry J. Billing.
40 This is A. N. Aksakov’s article entitled “The Scientific Hypothesis
Respecting Mediumistic Phenomena,” translated by H.P.B. and published in the
Avoca Mail and Pyrenees District Advertiser of Australia August 27, 1878.
41 Rev. Mohottiwatte Gunânanda, Buddhist Chief Priest of Dipaduttama
Vihâra, at Colombo, Ceylon, and a member of the General Council of the T.S.
42 An Adept-Brother spoken of by H.P.B. as “the Old Gentleman.” He
contributed a great deal of material during the production of Isis Unveiled. There
exists only one letter from him preserved in the Adyar Archives. It is written in red
pencil and its facsimile may be found in Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom,
Second Series, No. 24, as well as in C. Jinarâjadâsa’s booklet, Did Madame
Blavatsky Forge the Mahatma Letters, Adyar, 1934, p. 43. This Adept was living near
Arcot, not far from Madras, when H.P.B. and Col. Olcott saw him about April 30,
1882. A letter to The Theosophist from him, refuting the accusations of Swâmi
Dayânanda Sarasvatî against the Founders, appears in the June, 1882, Supplement,
pp. 6-8. It is dated “Tiruvallam Hills, May 17,” and signed “One of the Hindu
Founders of the Parent Theosophical Society.”
43 Most likely Master M. H.P.B.’s entry hints very plainly at the little
understood fact of the overshadowing of her consciousness by the higher
consciousness of Initiates.
44 The Adept-Brother known by the name of “Serapis” belonged to the
Egyptian Section of the Brotherhood and was very active in the initial stage of the
Theosophical Movement. A considerable number of original letters from him to Col.
Olcott have been preserved.
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45 The members of the Tile Club were artists who met monthly at each other’s
studios and painted designs on tiles supplied by the host, whose property they
46 This phrase does not occur anywhere else, and it is not known what particular
Adept is referred to.
47 H.P.B.’s cat. In a later entry the disappearance of Charles is alluded to with
48 More correctly Saoshyant, one of the Saviours to come, according to the
Zoroastrian religion, the other two being Oshêdar Bâmî and Oshêdar Mâh.
49 Most likely Master M.
50 Madame Vera Petrovna de Zhelihovsky, H.P.B.’s sister. She was born in 1835
and died 1896. She was a very well-known authoress in Russia specializing in
children’s stories.
51 Apparently the cryptograph of an initiate; very similar to the one which
appears in H.P.B.’s letter to A. P. Sinnett, No. XI, p. 20, of the well-known volume of
52 Nickname for Miss Rosa Bates.
53 One of these trunks is now at Adyar, still in good condition.
54 Emmet Robinson Olcott, one of Col. Olcott’s brothers, who was born
October 12, 1846.
55 Jenny was the maid.
56 These words are written in red pencil, in large letters, and in a handwriting
which C. Jinarâjadâsa thought to be that of Master Serapis. There is by their side a
short sentence in red also and signed by the symbols of which H.P.B. says in a letter
“the Old Gentleman your Narayan.”
57 The “I.—” most likely stands for Master Ilarion.
58 There is some evidence that this jewel had originally belonged to Cagliostro.
59 There is a short letter from Master Serapis in which he says that “the lost one
is restored in its proper place. The gueburs made it invisible out of malice.” Vide
Letter No. 22 in Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, Second Series.
60 Colonel Olcott arrived at Bombay bearing official credentials from the U.S.
Government as a Commercial Commissioner.
61 Symbol for Master Narayan.
62 Words in a script that has not been identified.
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63 Symbol for an Adept whom H.P.B. went to meet at “The Battery,” a point in
New York harbor.
64 Word illegible.