The So-Called Exposé of Madame Blavatsky
Boston Index, March 11, 1886
EDITORS of the Index:
Will you give me a little space in your valuable paper for a few words regarding the so-called expose of Madame H. P. Blavatsky, and the report of the Society for Psychical Research of London upon theosophic phenomena?
This report extends over several hundred pages, and is called scientific.
It must not be forgotten that, first, the investigation was self-constituted, and not requested by the Theosophical Society; and, secondly, that it related to a part of the history of theosophy which is not of great importance, nor dwelt on much by its members. We are a society devoted to Universal Brotherhood and Philosophy. It was true that Col. Olcott, the President, related to Mr. Hodgson nearly all the phenomena he had ever seen; but that was only injudicious, for they were not performed publicly nor for the public.
Now, I was the third person engaged in founding the society here, in 1875. Have been very active in it ever since. Went to India, via London, in 1884. And yet Mr. Hodgson did not interrogate me, nor did he get the facts he relates in his report at first hand.
He says, among other things, that “Mr. Judge, an American, was at Adyar, and was not allowed to see the shrine or its room.” This is false. I went to India expressly to be concerned in the coming exposure by the Coulombs, and I took charge of everything the moment I arrived there. I had the final and exhaustive examination made. I myself removed the shrine to an adjoining room, from which that night it disappeared. This was months before Hodgson arrived in India. If he saw what he thought was a part of the shrine, it was a joke put on him by Dr. Hartmann, who would be pleased to lead such a wild investigator into a trap. No part of it was retained by Hartmann.
Again, he describes a hole in the wall behind the shrine. There was none, and he gets it all at second hand. There was an unfinished opening in the second wall, behind the shrine, having jagged projections of lath ends all around it, just as Coulomb had to leave it, when we stopped him. The cupboard put up against it was unfinished, and the false door thereof could only be opened with mallet and pryer. All this was Coulomb’s concoction, ready to be opened to Missionary Patterson at the proper time. But the proper time never arrived, and I will tell you why. I was in Paris in April, 1884; and, while there, a message was received—in the very way which. Hodgson thinks he has exploded,—informing us that the Coulombs had begun operations, and that, unless someone went and stopped them, they would get their traps finely finished, with a due appearance of age and use to carry out the conspiracy. So I started for Adyar, with full authority. But, while on the way, the people had received there a similar intimation, so that I found the Coulombs just out of the place when I arrived. At once, a register was opened there. Over three hundred people examined the place, who signed their names to a declaration of the condition and appearance of things; and then a resolution prohibiting further prying by the curious was passed. The very next day Missionary Patterson, expert Gribble & Ca., came to examine. It was too late. The law was already in existence; and Mr. Gribble, who had come as an “impartial expert,” with, however, a report in full in his pocket against us, had to go away depending on his imagination for damaging facts. He then drew upon that fountain.
I tell you, Mr. Editor, the report of Hodgson is only half done work. No account has been taken of the numerous letters received by me and others, during these years between 1874 and 1884, from various adepts, under circumstances entirely free from Blavatskyism. And he has failed to get the evidence regarding things at Adyar, of the only person who went there free from excitement, and who remained cool while the rest were wild. An experience of ten years had placed my mind where the puerile traps of missionaries, or resemblances of letters from adepts to Blavatsky’s writing, could not affect it. Far I will divulge to you this, sir, that, if an adept wanted to write to you, the curious circumstance might be found that the writing would resemble your awn. lance saw a message thrown upon the leaf of a book; and it was in the handwriting of him holding it, who was as much amazed as any one else.
One word more. Mr. Hodgson’s argument an the evidence proceeds thus: Damodar says, in a separate examination, that the figure of the adept “went over a tree and disappeared,” while Mohini says, “The figure seemed to melt away.” Ergo, they lie, because they disagree as to the disappearance. This is sheer folly. Then he goes through what happened in Paris when I was present, asking Mohini and Keightley if a man might not have entered the window. They had forgotten the window. I say the window was in my room; and its height from the stone courtyard was over twenty feet, with no means of reaching by climbing.
Finally, I received in Paris several letters from American friends, ignorant of adepts; and inside were pencilled notes in the familiar handwriting which Hodgson has exploded and proved “fraudulent.”
The report is valuable as a contribution to history; and when Mr. Hodgson has gained same acquaintance with the several adepts, of whom he does not dream, who are engaged with the society, he and your readers may be pleased to revise conclusions, as science has so often been compelled to do.
WILLIAM Q. JUDGE
New York, February, 1886