Published by Blavatsky Study Center.  Online Edition copyright 2003.


Alice L. Cleather Writes
about Mr. Judge and Mrs. Tingley

[Collated from Alice Leighton Cleather's two books titled H.P. Blavatsky: 
Her Life  and Work for Humanity
, Calcutta, Thacker, Spink & Co., 1922, pp. 3, 121-124; and
H.P. Blavatsky As I Knew Her, Calcutta, Thacker, Spink & Co., 1923, p. 30] 


Alice Leighton Cleather. . . Mrs. Katherine Tingley. . . [was] a professional psychic and trance medium in New York. . . .For those of us who followed Mr. Judge in 1895, later discovered that about the time of H.P.B.'s death or soon after (the exact date is not known to me), Mr. Judge came under the influence of this woman, who is possessed of considerable hypnotic and other dangerous powers.  He had consulted her, in her capacity as a medium, which led eventually to her obtaining a complete hold over him, and also over Theosophical friends whom he introduced to her, and to their accepting her as a Chela of the Masters; one for whom Mr. Judge believed he had been told to seek.  She gave him "messages" purporting to be from Them, but subsequently I discovered that most - if not all- of those which he gave out as having been received by him had come "through" Mrs. Tingley.  The whole history of this extraordinary delusion is a long and complicated one, some of it being contained in the E.S. documents in my possession. . . .

When I first met Mrs. Tingley she was known only to a few of Mr. Judge's intimates, but even they did not know the nature of the influence she exercised over him.  He introduced me to her at the Boston Convention of 1895, a year before his death, as a very special and mysterious person.  She was then the directing intelligence behind the scenes of all he did, culminating in the fatal division in the T.S. which was then decided on.  On our return [from Boston] to New York he requested me to visit Mrs. Tingley and report to him everything she said.  I was staying with Miss Katherine Hillard, the learned Theosophical writer, at the time, and she urged me not to go, telling me that Mrs. Tingley was a well-known public medium, and expressed surprise that Mr. Judge should consult a person of that description.  But my faith in Mr. Judge as an occultist who must know what he was doing, was then absolute; so I disregarded her warning and went.   Mrs. Tingley then told me, among other things, that Mr. Judge was really the Master K.H.; and Mr. Judge did not discourage this idea when I gave him my report of the interview.  It was not until I had worked under Mrs. Tingley for some time that I was forced to come to the conclusions I have briefly stated. . . .

There can, however, be little doubt that she played a very large part through Mr. Judge, in the wrecking of the T.S., and that she had intended, and planned - probably, from the first - to obtain control of the American Section T.S. , of which Mr. Judge was President when she first met him.  She was completely successful, and on Mr. Judge's death in 1896, took his place as Outer Head of the E.S.T. in America.  At first she was announced as a mysterious "fellow-Chela" of Mr. Judge, a sort of Lohengrin who was to remain unknown for a year.  But she speedily emerged from her obscurity, organised a spectacular "Crusade around the world," and proclaimed herself the "Leader and Official Head" of the entire Judge T.S. . . .

On Mr. Judge's death in 1896, I was among those English members cabled for to attend the convention of New York when Mrs. Tingley was introduced to the E.S.T. Council as Mr. Judge's successor.  She then asked me to accompany her on the tour round the world which passed through India in the winter of that year.  Subsequently, in 1899, I and many others left Mrs. Tingley's Society on discovering that she was departing as far from H.P.B.'s original teachings as, on her side, Mrs. Besant was.  To neither of these organisations was I, therefore, able to belong. Neither of their leaders inspired me with any confidence, as both were introducing ideas completely foreign to those promulgated by H.P.B. while professing to carrying on her work.  An important instrument, which neither of them scrupled to use for this purpose, was the Esoteric School, which, owing to the pledge of secrecy, could be, and was so used without the knowledge of the T.S. and outsiders. . .

It was under Mrs. Tingley's influence that Mr. Judge began, after H.P.B.'s death, the campaign in favour of Western Occultism which culminated in the announcement, in an E.S. paper (written by Mr. Judge, but dictated by Mrs. Tingley) deposing Mrs. Besant, that a school for the Revival of the Mysteries would be established in America. . . .

. . . It was she herself [Mrs. Tingley] who told me, personally, that she dictated the famous E.S.T. Circular headed "By Masters's Direction," and signed by Mr. Judge, deposing Mrs. Besant from her position as joint Outer Head. . . . Mr. Judge's circular was a characteristic Tingley counterstroke, and anyone familiar with her language and methods (as I subsequently became) can easily recognise it throughout.  Mr. Judge's style was totally different and quite unmistakable. . . .

It is regrettable that this paper, headed "By Master's Direction," is still accepted as such by many, including the [United Lodge of Theosophists] group at  Los Angeles, California.  See their Magazine Theosophy, September,1922, p. 250, et seq. . . .

. . . It did not take some of us very long to discover that Mrs. Tingley knew very little about Theosophy and nothing whatever about Occultism.  We found that she was simply a clever opportunist, with a talent for organisation and showy activities on philanthropic and educational lines.  She has established a successful colony at Point Loma, California; but all the work requiring a knowledge of H.P.B.'s Teachings is being done by students who acquired their knowledge under H.P.B. and who followed Mr. Judge in 1895.  Most of them were E.S. members and one, Dr. Herbert Coryn, was a member of H.P.B.'s Inner Group. . . .

In view of the unimpeachable facts concerning Mr. Judge and Mrs. Tingley it is to be deplored that there are groups of earnest Theosophists in America who endeavour to uphold the entirely indefensible theory that he was the occult equal of H.P.B.  Some of them even go so far as to assert that he and she were sent out together by the Masters as Co-messengers!  I need hardly add that this claim is not only impossible and untenable, but has no shadow of justification in fact.  Mr. Judge began his occult career at the same time as Colonel Olcott, both becoming H.P.B.'s pledged pupils in 1874.   Both men served well and faithfully during H.P.B.'s life-time, but as soon as she was withdrawn they both failed in different ways.  In Mr. Judge's case his considerable knowledge of occultism rendered his easy deception by an ordinary professional psychic, devoid of real occult knowledge, the more surprising for he was always warning students against the dangers of psychism.  Such failures only serve to illustrate the enormous difficulties that beset the chela's path in the Kali Yuga, and the magnitude of Damodar's achievement in winning through.  As H.P.B. clearly indicated in her Letter of 1890, he was the one full success in the whole history of the T.S.; and he was an Aryan, not a Westerner.  The loss of Mr. Judge's occult judgment after his Teacher's death was nowhere more clearly shown than in his unquestioned acceptance of Mrs. Tingley's ignorant assertion that Western Occultism is the essence of all other systems; for H.P.B. consistently taught and demonstrated that in the East and not in the West is the fountain head. . . .This was one of the radical departures from H.P.B.'s teachings made at that time as much by Mr. Judge as by Mrs. Besant. . . .


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"William Q. Judge and Katherine Tingley" series of articles