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vol. 1, p. 7
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 1 (1874-1876)
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< About Spiritualism (continued from unknown page) >

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!

H. P. Blavatsky.

23 Irving Place.

So much in defence of phenomena, as to whether these Spirits are ghosts is another question. H.P.B.

Letter from an Idiotic Spiritualist

[To The Editor of The Daily Graphic.]

I am one of those idiotic Spiritualists to whom Dr. Beard makes vague allusion in his very long and interesting letter to the Daily Graphic exposing the Eddys brother.

My indebtedness to Dr. Beard cannot easily express. Unconsciously I had long been stumbling through the world, and with my feeble intellect endeavoring to establish opinions for myself upon such of its perplexities as came within vision. Being a credulous ass, I naturally took in Spiritualism. I never had such a scientifically trained mind as our Creator has vouchsafed to Dr. Beard. My friends never had either. It was poor neighborhood. We couldn’t hire our thinking done for us, we had never then heard of Dr. Beard, and his generous missionary labor did not come in time to save me. I fell into the vortex of Spiritualism. I never got out, and I fear I never shall; for, don’t you see, according to dr. Beard’s showing, I am not open to reason; I am to the last degree credulous liar; I am a deliberate, unconscious liar, possibly amiable but entirely witless ass who can never flounder out of the quagmire I have fallen into except lean upon a man like Dr. Beard, whose trained mind has been devoted for years to scientific modes of thinking? And if I am such a fool in the phenomena of Spiritualism, how can I trust my assininity upon anything? Like Colonel Olcott, I presume some of the phenomena I have witnessed are as real to me as eating, drinking, or feeling. If I am mistaken in some of the wonders I have seen Spiritualism, I have no assurance that I met my live friend Jones yesterday; that I heard Talmage preach last Sunday; that I wear boots on my feet instead of my head; and possibly—indeed the thought creates a shudder—that Dr. Beard’s letter to The Daily Graphic is not actual fact, but may be mere whim of my imagination. If it were not additional and unnecessary proof of Dr. Beard’s assertions as to the hopeless imbecility of Spiritualists I could present narrative of experiences and suggest those of some others well vouched for, involving other phases of the great delusion, but with all my credulity (I will say to you in confidence that I swallowed the Herald hoax as a mere morsel) I am not that kind of fool that I do not know when I meet a man trained to scientific modes of thinking like Dr. Beard. At a glance of his eagle eye he recognizes me as an idiotic driveller, whose reading and experience would be no more to him than the gibbering of one of Barnum’s аpes. It is idle, indeed, as the doctor modestly remarks, for a million weaklings to hurl a stone as far as “one strong boy” (like Dr. Beard). Dr. Beard does not so in words as I recollect, but he leaves it to be fairly inferred that be regards all materializations and all the other phenomena of Spiritualism as the product of trickery and fraud. Assuming that the Eddys are base swindlers, he has yet to dispose of Slade and Foster in New York and some other prominent mediums in both this country and England. Of course if he kills off the leading lights of legerdemain the others will quickly go by the hoard. The English scientists who talked and waited with Katie King while Miss Cook, her medium, was elsewhere visible will doubtless hang their heads now. Like myself, those transatlantic transcendental noodles have never heard of Dr. Beard. Will their friends, if they have any, please seek some private asylum for them?

To be sure there are thousands of private mediums who shrink from the least publicity. In the presence of and through the organizations of these singular and inexplicable phenomena take place. That is to say, they seem so to the hare-brained soft-headed people who witness them, who neither pay admission fee nor eight dollars a weak for board, and who have never known the mediums to be given to practical joking or trickery for the amusement of themselves or the bewilderment of their friends. The phenomena of the household, so largely of a private character, and which are in two-thirds of the towns, cities, and neighborhoods of the land, may be disposed of by a ware of Dr. Beard’s hand. I am a liar, conscious or unconscious; my general statements in the first place are liable to be untrue, and, in the second place, if the supposed phenomena occur they are only ordinary trickery, grossly exaggerated by an active imagination and a desire to believe in the supernatural. In such a way or by some similar method of his trained scientific mind Dr. Beard would hang me up for public ridicule.

I feel sorry for Olcott, who was so “shocked,” Dr. Beard says, when told what the alleged manifestations actually were and what he had better to do to prove them and how soon had better go. But the amiable, idiotic Olcott, I have no doubt, will insist upon insanely replying to the doctor and dash out his poor brains against the impregnable arguments of a trained scientific mind.

November. — 1874.

Brooklyn, N. Y., November 10,1874.

Dr. Beard and the Eddys

[From the Springfield Republican]

The man who has a mania for “exposing” all extraordinary phenomena as frauds is as sure to arise as the phenomena themselves. His name to-day is Dr. George M. Beard, of New York. The peculiar operations of young Mr. Brown having been completely explained, he has been taking a turn with the mysteries of Spirit Vale, and in a communication to The Daily Graphic exposes the Eddys with equal ease. Those who have witnessed Mr. Brown’s achievements cannot help being somewhat prejudiced against Dr. Beard as a fair-minded investigator, for it is quite plain that “unconscious muscular action” is ridiculously inadequate to meet the conditions of many of his performances, and yet Beard, having started with that preconceived idea, obstinately insists on stretching it to make if fit them all. So with his “expose” of the Eddys. It is not, of course, impossible that the Eddys should yet be proved humbugs, but it is quite certain that Dr. Beard has not done it. He got into the house of the brothers by leaving his hair uncombed, his boots unblacked and his heard unshaved, and otherwise managing his natural advantages so as to pass for a feeble-minded Spiritualist. Then he “diplomatized,” let us say, profusely, making believe see and recognize spirits when he didn't, and finally got admitted to a dark seance and a light seance. Very little was seen at the former, only the apparition “Honto,” and one other, which did not speak, exhibited, and both, Dr. Beard pronounces, wore personated by William Eddy, as he believes all others are, with the help of the spectator's imagination. In the light seance he assisted Horatio Eddy, and detected that individual in officiating as the spiritual guitar player. Colonel Olcott, who has been in Chittenden for several weeks investigating, and whose illustrated papers have been published in The Daily Graphic, Dr. Beard declares to be as “credulous as a baby” and incapable of telling the truth in regard to anything that takes place in the Eddy seances. The doctor gives a summary of the ring and rope and other feats, all of which are too familiar bits of jugglery to deserve serious attention. It may be at once conceded that all that really catches the public attention in the performances of this Vermont family, and all that they care to have light thrown upon, is the materialization. It is the new thing in their line. Unless the doctor's blunt charge is true, and Colonel Olcott lies by the wholesale, Dr Beard's “exposure” is absurd.

Shakespeare and Bacon and Spirit Phrenology

The Range of Bumps Much Higher in Spirit Life—Bacon Outranks Shakespeare—The Immortal Poet Aided by the Spirits.

Eddy Homestead, Rutland Co., Vt., Oct. 16.--The séance began, as usual, with Honto. The only novel thing she did was to smoke a pipe, which was given her by Mr. Olcott for the occasion; Mr. Horatio Eddy lit it and passed it over to her. She smoked it for about a minute, the light from the bowl making her dark skin distinctly visible. Then, like a true Indian, she desired that all the spectators should smoke the same pipe, handing it to Madame Blowtskey[4], who was standing near her. The Madame is fond of smoking and kept the pipe, at which tho girl showed signs of displeasure and was about to retire to the cabinet, when some one suggested that she wanted the pipe passed around. Then she smiled and bowed. The pipe went round.

A few minutes after Honto retired Mrs. Eaton, the leading female spirit, requested Mr. Pritchard, who occupied his chair on the stage, to change his seat, with his back to the cabinet, and have another chair placed by his side, which meant of course that nobody would sit in it. At the same time she said, “ It’s a shade too light.” The lamp was turned down a little lower. Mr. Pritchard’s mother then came out, looking life-like. She took a seat beside her son, and-conversed with him for several minutes. By request, Mr. Pritchard then introduced his mother to the audience, both standing up by the railing. He said, “ Ladies and gentlemen, this is my mother, who passed away about fourteen years ago. You can see the difference in our height feet five, while she is about five feet.” Mrs. Pritchard bowed and smiled when introduced, but said nothing, although she is able to talk distinctly. She very much resembles her daughter now living in Albany.

Mrs. Pritchard was followed by Mrs. Phillips, the mother of Mr. H. A. Phillips ; then came Mr. Brown’s mother, followed by the German and his niece, Mrs. Lenzberg’s brother and daughter, who speak German.

Mr. Brown, the leading spirit, here appeared at the threshold of the cabinet and again evinced his displeasure. He made some reference to “ money making.” The séance then closed, Mrs. Eaton saying, “ Mr. Brown will have his way, and as he is generally right I don’t see why he should not have it. I wish you all a very good night.” The courtesy was returned, as is the case every night a séance is held.


Prof. Alanson Hobbs of Ararat, Pa., has been here for several days. He is a spiritual phrenologist, being able, he says, to give a chart of the living and the dead. The gentleman is not an educated man. He claims to have a learned spiritual guide who furnishes charts of the inhabitants of the spirit land. He rarely touches the head of an individual while making out the chart, the spirit giving him the “ impression.” He says earth life men do not exceed 13½ degrees, but that in spirit life they can reach 28, the learning by experience just as people learn on earth. He says that there are spirits from other planets that far exceed those from our own, almost doubling them in degrees. Prof. Hobbs has raised a large family and never lost a child, always doctoring them by spirit impression.

To test his powers I requested him to give me a chart of Bacon and Shakespeare, and at the same time to find out which of them was the author of the great plays. He already had a chart of Shakespeare with a range of 22 degrees. To my surprise I found that he had nvever heard of Lord Bacon, and consequently knew nothing about the contention as to the authorship of the plays. He told me, however, that he could ascertain about Bacon, but that it would take a little time. He came to me in a few hours and said the that he could give me the figures, saying, “ My, the man stands 26 degrees.” He says that while Bacon stands higher in intellect than Shakespeare, Shakespeare is the author of the plays in writing which he was assisted and directed by spirit power.

He gave me, in addition to Bacon and Shakespeare, the charts of Mayflower, the Italian girl, who has been in the spirit land 104 years. George Dix, who has been there about forty years ; and Mrs. Eddy (mother of the Eddys), who has been dead about two years. Bacon and Shakespeare having been contemporary are nearly on an equal footing, so far as progress in the spirit land is concerned. The other three vary. The following table gives the figures in

Bacon Shakespeare Mayflower Geo.Dix Mrs.Eddy
Anrativeness 7 7 3
Philoprogenenitiveness 13 10½ 12 11 6
Asihesiveness 14 11½ 11 12 4
Inhabitiveness 5 3 3 6
...ity 8 8 5 6 2
Vitativeness 11 8 6 10 7
Combativeness 9 4 7 ???
Destructiveness 7 2 5 ???
Alimentativeness 4 3 4 ??? ???
Acquisitiveness 14 10½ 8 ??? ???
Secretiveness 4 4 3 ???
Cuntlousness 6 4 ???
Approbativeness 9 5 6 ???
Self-esteem 15 8 7 10½ 2
Firminess 14 6 8 3
Conscientivesness 21 15 10½ 15 7
??? 13½ 11 7 5
??? 21 21 17 10 10
V... 20 18 12 11½ 4
Benev... 22 20 13 13 7
Constructiveness 25 22 15 15 8
Ideality 22 15 14 11 7
Supl..ity 26 23 10 16
Inntation 16 21 9 10 6
Mirinfulness 23 17 14 12 4
Individuality 15 18 7 8 5
Forin 21 22½ 13 9
Size 3 6 4 5 2
Weight 4 4 3 3
Color 15 10½ 9 9 5
Order 21 11 10 8 4
Calculation 28 22 11 ??? 4
Sociability 5 19 10 12 8
Locality 15 11½ 8
Eventuality 23 12½ 12 10
Time 9 7 6
Tone 6 5 6 5
Language 18 14 12 3
Causality 25 12 10 10 7
Comparison 26 17½ 15 11 5
Agreesoliness 6 5 4 5
Humannature 25 13½ 10 11 4
Qualityofmind 26 22 16 16 14

W. H. O.

Some Interesting Passages About The Reigning Sensation

Shakespeare and Bacon and Spirit Phrenology.
The Range of Bumps Much Higher in Spirit Life—Bacon Outranks Shakespeare—The Immortal Poet Aided by the Spirits.

Brown, “ the mind-reader,” visited the Eddys in Vermont, and thus relates his experiences in the New Haven Palladium :

I passed out with the friend who accompanied me, and when he asked me what I thought of it, I told him I thought it all a humbug, and believed that the so-called spirits got in through the little window in the closet. The next morning I took a ladder, and climbed up the window from the outside. (The hall is in the second story). I found that the little square window had been carefully covered with mosquito bar, the edgings and crossings of which had been thoroughly sealed with sealing-wax, and stamped with the seal-ring of Colonel Olcott. The Daily <... >

Editor's notes

  1. Letter from an Idiotic Spiritualist by Blavatsky, H. P. (?), Daily Graphic, The, vol. VI, p. 91. Signed as Spiritualist
  2. Dr. Beard and the Eddys by Blavatsky, H. P. (?), Daily Graphic, The, vol. VI, p. 91. From the Springfield Republican
  3. Shakespeare and Bacon and Spirit Phrenology by unknown author. In section "More spiritual wonders". Includes chart "The Spiritual Charts"
  4. So in text. Should be: Blavatsky.
  5. Some Interesting Passages About The Reigning Sensation by Brown, Daily Graphic, The, 1874-11