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vol. 1, p. 23
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 1 (1874-1876)


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March 16th 1875
Spiritual Scientist

Who Fabricates?


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 questions.”


“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.”

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, point-blank, 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. 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 him?

“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 certain statement that I reserve for the last.

In all this pitiful, humbugging romance of an “exposure” by a too material she-spirit, 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.

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, 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 <... continues on page 1-24 >

# Ordered to expose Dr. Child. I did so. The D’ is a hypocrite, a liar & a fraud. H.P.B.

Editor's notes

  1. Who Fabricates? by Blavatsky, H. P., Spiritual Scientist, Boston, Vol. II, April, 1875, pp. 44-5
    Published in "A Modern Panarion", p.25 as "The Holmes Controversy Continued". – Archivist