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vol. 1, p. 17
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 1 (1874-1876)


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[Great freedom is given to correspondents, who sometimes express opinion, diametrically opposed to those of this journal and its readers.]

The Odour of Sanctity

Sir,—The account which you printed a short time ago, of phenomena connected with the evolution of scent in an abnormal manner, has brought me several letters requesting furhter information. The record which you were able to give, was necessarily imperfect. and I shill be glad if you will allow me to explain somewhat more precisely.

In every circle with which I am acquainted, some means is used of inducing harmonious conditions. This is usually done by means of music or singing. In our circle it has always been by means of perfumes. From the very first we have been enjoined to stillness, and attempts at conversation have usually been repressed. We do not use a musical box, nor has music been asked for. But no seance passes without perfumes being showered upon us, or perfumed waves of air being wafted round the circle. These waves of air usually blow over my head, sо that by putting up my hand I can feel the cold air blowing over my bead twelve or eighteen inches above it. It is not until the waves of scented air come round to me that I detect the presence of perfume, except on rare occasions.

These perfumes are of various kinds, rose, sandal-wood, and verbena, being favourites. Any sweet-scented flowers in the room are utilised, and their perfume extrcacted. This is notably the case in the country where fresh flowers are obtainable. We have noticed in. such cases that the presence of a particular flower in the room would determine the prominent spirit odour; and that particular blossoms would have all the perfume extracted from them for the time, though the odour would return on the following day. Sometimes, however, a perfectly distinct odour would be extracted from—or, more precisely, be put upon—a particular flower. In this case the flower invariably withered and died in a very short time.

It is now some months since I first noticed the presence of a perfumed atmosphere [??)] round myself, especially during the times those I was suffering pain, I have been liable to neuralgia, and at such times those around me have noticed the presence of perfume of various kinds, such as those which we observe during our seances. One evening I was standing at an open window through which the air was blowing, and the perfume of rose was so marked, that friends who were present endeavoured to trace it to some definite source. It was found to be localised in a spot no bigger than a shilling at the top of my head. The spot was perceptibly wet with the perfume, which oozed out more freely on pressure. Since that time we have become familiar with the fact, and have ceased to wonder when the perfume shows itself, if I am suffering pain. The process is, аz I am informed, remedial, and I have knowledge of at least one medium now living, who has frequently observed a similar phenomenon, though not referable to perfume localised in one spot.

But, indeed, the fact is both new and old. We have not observed it of late years, perhaps because we have not searched for it, but in mediaeval days the fact was perfectly familiar. It is only now that we are beginning to understand the phenomena of mediumship, which showed themselves among the monks, nuns, and the recluses, of the middle ages. They were in many cases powerful mediums, they gave themselves the best conditions —seclusion, prayer, fasting—and the odour of sanctity became a well-known occurrence among them. Only they named it badly. There was no particular sanctity about them or about us now—frequently the reverse. The perfume had nothing to do with sanctity. It was a phenomenon of mediumship which was rife then, and which exists now, perhaps more frequently than we know.

M. A. (Oxon).


A Greco-Russian Priest in his War-Paint

Heroic Woman

A Petticoated Staff Officer of Garibaldi—Strange and Striking Career—A Former Companion Whose History Reads Like Romance

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 [a fib], at the age of seventeen married a Russian nobleman then in his seventy-third year. For many years [a lie — was with him but for three weeks.] they resided together at Odessa, and finally a legal separation [legal, because he died.] 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 [Whom? When!! How!?] 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. 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 “Garibaldis’s staff.” Went with friends to Mantana to help shooting the Papists and got shot myself. Nobody’s business – lest of any a d’...d reporters.

A Card From The Countess Blavatsky

Answered a long letter but they inserted but this paragraph and added lies.—H.P.B.

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 [since then] 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 honor 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. 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.

H. P. Blavatsky

124 East Sixteenth Street.

<Untitled> (The Great Sensation of the age)

of the age.
“People from the Other World.”

Most astounding developments. Spirits weighed and examined. Investigators at their wits’ end. Nothing like it ever seen or heard. New version of the


Tables turned on the accusers. Who are the frauds. The most wondrous book of the age.

Agents Wanted in every town to sell it. For particulars address


Editor's notes

  1. The Odour of Sanctity by Moses, W. S. (signed as M. A. (Oxon))
    Published in Theosophist in May, 1923, by C.J. in "Early History of T.S.". – Archivist
  2. A Greco-Russian Priest in his War-Paint by unknown author
  3. Heroic Woman by unknown author
  4. A Card From The Countess Blavatsky by Blavatsky, H. P., N. Y. Sunday Mercury
  5. The Great Sensation of the age by unknown author, American Publishing Co., Hardford & Chicago