There have been Theosophists around lately. They aren't easy to identify at first. That may, in part, have to do with the fact that there are many
shades of Theosophy with many prolific writers as members.
Theosophy is serious business. It is rigid and inflexible and tough, like its founder. Its potential for impacting the hearts and minds of man should
not be underestimated. Theosophy has a tendency to encourage some of the less savory aspects of mankind and it needs to be leavened, wherever its
presence has made an impact.
It is in that spirit, ATS, that I offer you this thread.
You see, it all starts with this lady...
Helena Hahn was born in 1831, the daughter of a Russian Military officer in the town of Ekaterinoslav, Ukraine. It is known that at the age age 16 she
married Russian general Nikifor Blavatsky who was 25 years her senior. She very soon left Nikifor, retaining the noble Russian surname, 'Blavatsky'.
She then claims to have traveled to Constantinople, and other exotic locations such as Tibet. We will come later to the many things that Helena
claimed about herself, but for now, let's look at what wedo
know about the life of Helena Blavatsky before she began to instruct the world in
the 'mysteries' of Theosophy.
It is known that she was a bare-back rider in the circus. Helena was said to have also been a piano teacher in Paris and that she managed an
artificial flower factory in a town called Tiflis. It is also said that she had become the traveling companion for a while to a wealthy heiress and it
is thought that that was where she had gotten initial exposure to many of the books that we will find her to have plagiarized. But probably her most
important job, and the one we are most concerned with, is Helena's job working as the assistant to famous English 'Spiritist'
Daniel Dunglas Home
(20 March 1833 – 21 June 1886).
It needs to be realized that 'Spiritism was all the rage at this time in Britain and Europe and the Scottish medium Daniel Home was like a rock star
of spiritists in his time. I won't go too deeply in to it, but it began with a couple of twelve year old girls called the Fox Twins that seemed to be
haunted by 'knocks' they claimed were made by spirits. This happened in 1848 and England was never the same: Europe went 'Spirit Medium' crazy.
You know, Harlem Shake
? Like that, only no YouTube and totally word of mouth like mass hysteria; it went viral.
And guess who was there to try and capitalize on what had really been her childhood dream? Why, Helena would be; and she would do so by sheer force of
cantankerous bad-tempered will-power. Make no mistake, Helena was a tough gritty survivor. At the age of 40 she was one of 17 survivors that swam
through carnage to safety when the ship Eumonia exploded on it's way from Italy to Greece. She was a committed chain smoker and smoked prodigious
amounts of marijuana, which was legal at the time. She has been quoted as saying that sexual love is 'a beastly appetite that should be starved into
submission.'(TOaH. P. 377).
Helena ultimately moved to America and, with others, created Theosophy, and we will get to that soon. But first we want to look at Helena's terrible
track record as any sort of medium.Helena was chased out of Cairo, Egypt in 1872 when one of the attendees at one of her seances found the stuffed
white glove that she used to 'materialise' the spirits. She was known to have bludgeoned an attendant at one of her demonstrations of psychic power
with a torrent of profanity when the person pointed out that the tea-cup she had materialised might have been previously buried. Another story tells
of how she used her psychic powers to find the broach of a lost heiress. The heiress did not believe that Helena had actually found the broach and
Helena was still protesting her innocence when the pawn broker's receipt for the broach that she had returned was shown to her.
The Society for Psychical Research
investigated Helena and produced a 200 page
report, called the Hodgson Report
, in which the main investigator referred to Helena as,
"...one of the most accomplished, ingenious, and interesting imposters in history". In the report Hodgson revealed many of the trick methods that
Helena used to perform feats such as materialising 'messages' from her connection to the 'Hidden masters', Coot Hoomi
from the ceiling.
Hodgson travelled to India to investigate Helena and crew and even found fresh plaster where holes in ceilings and walls had been hastily plastered up
to hide the props and trap doors used to simulate the presence of spirits and there appearance and dis-appearance.
If readers will just take a brief look at the wave of popular 'Spiritist' culture of the time, they will understand more readily what the hell was
going on back then and why people might believe stuff like floating dis-embodied heads and messages from the spirit realm in the forms of slips of
paper from the ceiling.
In the posts that will follow this one, we are going to take a look at Helena in America and how Theosophy came to be. but before we do, I want to
advance forward a bit to how Helena was able to establish herself so quickly in the States.
Helena's first job in America was as a ghost writer
. It's as simple as that. Now, don't get me wrong, it was by her own pluck that she made
what she was writing so attractive to an obviously hungry audience that they were willing to pay for it; but that's how she first started to make a
living. She wrote 'messages' from the 'Ascended Masters' in Tibet, and from an imaginary 'Brotherhood of Luxor' in Egypt to the hungry fans of a
newsletter called The Banner of Light
which was published by American Hon. Henry Steel Olcott. Just to be clear: she was paid by Olcott to
provide material for his newsletter which was in turn paid for by a large audience hungry for secrets and mysteries.
She did, in fact, become a professional writer.
Were are going there very soon.
The Occult: A History
. Colin Wilson. 1971
An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural
. James Randi.