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vol. 1, p. 108
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 1 (1874-1876)


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< Experiences at Havana, N.Y. with the De-materializing Medium, Mrs. Markee. (continued from page 1-107) >


JANUARY 6, 1876.

Madame Blavatsky Explains

A rap at the “Luther”-ans.—Her opinion of the Eddy's.—Mediums criticized

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. One would think that the last day of judgment had come for American Spiritualism.

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 Scheol † 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 Spiritualism.

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 By-and-By.”

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 unspoken unshaken by ana 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.

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 phenomena. 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. Mediums have tried likewise to convince me that <... continues on page 1-109 >

(†) Scheol, not shcool. Scheol—the hell of the Jews—you donkey printer.

Editor's notes

  1. Madame Blavatsky Explains by Blavatsky, H. P., Spiritual Scientist, v. 3, No. 18, January 6, 1876, pp. 208-9. Another title: "Spiritualism and Spiritualists"
    The article below is pub. in "A Modern Panarion", p. 72, as "Spiritualism and Spiritualists.". – Archivist