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The So-Called Exposé of Madame Blavatsky

From William Q. Judge Theosophical Articles, Vol. II.


Articles by WQJ


[ By the Editor of the Journal of The Society for Psychical Reaserch -
"Although, as it has been repeatedly pointed out, The SPR holds no corporate opinion, it has widely been regarded as responsible for endorsing the "Hodgson Report" (as we shall hereafter refer to the report as a whole) and hence as being on record as condemning Mme. Blavatsky.

In this issue of our Journal, coming as it does almost exactly one hundred years after the publication of the Hodgson Report, we are happy, in the interest of truth and fair play and to make amends for whatever offense we may have given, to publish here one such crucial analysis by a handwriting expert. His expertise is of special relevance in this instance since much of the Hodgson Report concerns the authorship of certain letters which Hodgson claims were forged by Mme. Blavatsky herself. Dr. Vernon Harrison, a past President of the Royal Photographic Society, was for ten years, Research Manager to Thomas De LaRue, printers of banknotes, passports and stamps, etc., so thers is probably no much that he does not know about forgery. He is not a member of the Theosophical Society but he is a long-standing member of the SPR." -John Beloff, Ph.D., Editorial note to J'Accuse: An Examination of the Hodgson Report of 1885" by Vernon Harrison, SPR Journal, April 1986. - This is the report that succintly sets out the fraud conducted by said Hodgson upon HPB and the Theosophical Society in general.  - "In April of 1986 The SPR Journal published Vernon Harrison's first critical analysis of the Hodgson Report, which he found "riddled with slanted statements, conjectures advanced as fact or probable fact, uncorroborated testimony of unnamed witnesses, selection of evidence and downright falsity." 

A follow-up report was released in March of 1997, the product of a further ten years investigation, it was released under the title "H. P. Blavatsky and the SPR", published by the Theosophical University Press. The following is the concluding remarks by said Dr. Vernon Harrison in his About this Book, a preface.

-"The results of the present investigation, which has been extended over a fifteen year period, are now presented in the hope that future biographers of Madame H. P. Blavatsky, the compiler of reference books, encyclopedias and dictionaries, as well as the general public, will come to realize that the Hodgson Report is not the model of impartial investigation so often claimed for it over the past century. It is flawed and untrustworthy; and Hodgson's observations and conclusions need to b taken with a considerable portion of salt."  -BNet Editors.]

EDITORS of the Index:

Will you give me a little space in your valuable paper for a few words regarding the so-called exposé 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 & Co., 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. For 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 own. I once 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 ward 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,
Boston Index, March 11, 1886

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