Published by Blavatsky Study Center.  Online Edition copyright 2003.

Some Reminiscences of William Q. Judge

by Emil August Neresheimer

In response to numerous requests made to me for some detailed information regarding the later years of Mr. Judge's activities as Head of the Theosophical Movement in America, I will endeavor to give an account of some of the most important incidents of that period.

It has been claimed that an "apostolic succession" of Theosophical Leaders was established by Mr. Judge through his having nominated Katherine Tingley as his successor, and, in order to enable members of the Society to draw their own conclusions in this matter, I am giving the following details.

Shortly after his return to New York City from the "Parliament of Religions" at the Chicago World's Fair, in the Fall of 1893, Mr. Judge mentioned casually an invention made by an acquaintance of his, Mr. Philo B. Tingley.  He said he would like me to look at it and, if agreeable, he would introduce me to Mr. Tingley.   Accordingly, we called at Mr. Tingley's home in 95th Street where I was introduced to both Mr. and Mrs. Tingley.  I decided not to engage in Mr. Tingley's proposed enterprise, wrote him to that effect and dismissed that matter from my mind.

Emil August Neresheimer

Emil August Neresheimer

About a week later, I received a polite note from Mrs. Tingley inviting me to call on her as she wished to speak to me of something that would be of great interest to me.  Not knowing what to make of this invitation, I spoke of it to Mr. Judge, and he simply said "Go and see what she has to say."  I further asked him "What kind of a woman is Mrs. Tingley?" and he replied "Oh! she is all right, you can trust her."  Hardly more than this was said.  I resolved to go and see Mrs. Tingley at the appointed time.

Mrs. Tingley received me quite cordially and almost immediately proceeded to speak of her close association with Mr. Judge in theosophical matters.  She spoke sympathetically of the bad state of his health, his almost austere mode of living and of his strenuous work.  Finally, she touched on the subject of rumors which had been emanating from Headquarters in India to the effect that Mr. Judge had been accused of having forged messages purporting to come from the Mahatmas.  No definite charge had been made yet at that time, but it was evidence to me that Katherine Tingley was well posted on current events; had a knowledge of the characters and status of most of the active officers and Members of the Theosophical Society, both at home and abroad; knew of their personal idiosyncrasies capabilities and motives, their ambitions and weaknesses, and their respective usefulness.

Her warrant for her unusual interest, she said, was that she was bound up with Mr. Judge in an Occult way from the remote past, and her present duty was to render him assistance and protection in all critical matters connected with his position as one of the chief supporting pillars of the Theosophical Movement.  Her manner was dignified, and there was hardly a trace in  her conversation or manner of personal vanity, self-assertion, ambition  or assumed authority.  Our interviews were, at all times, free from gossip or trivialities.  She suggested that I immediately start corresponding with Colonel Olcott at Adyar, India, and with some of the heads of Theosophical Centres in various countries - protesting on principle against the preposterous charges and insinuations against Mr. Judge which, from their nature, could neither be proved nor disproved.  She also suggested that I mention incidentally my personal view of the certainty of solidarity in the whole American Section in support of Mr. Judge, as also of many other members of the society in other countries who were cognizant of and grateful for his never-ailing services to the Theosophical Cause.   Other steps to checkmate the conspiracy then on foot were discussed, and at subsequent meetings during the first half of 1894 Mrs. Tingley then showed fertile and spontaneous common-sense and ingenuity, which traits gained for her the confidence and support of others besides myself who had aided Mr. Judge in carrying on this work and plans.

My meetings with Mrs. Tingley soon settled down to almost daily regularity and continued thus until the fall of 1894, with but few breaks, as when Mr. Judge went to London for the "Judicial Proceedings" inaugurated by Col. Olcott to "try" Mr. Judge on the charges against him by Mrs. Besant as sponsor.   During part of this period also, Mrs. Tingley was away from New York City, at Newburyport, Mass.

After the first few visits, Mrs. Tingley told me that it would be necessary to adopt a more ceremonial procedure in order to maintain the sacred character of our work together.  She therefore conducted me into a small private room, with a bare floor and devoid of furniture, except a small table, two chairs and an easel, on which was a symbolical portrait known as the "Rajah", a copy of a water color sketch made by Mr. Judge himself.  She seated me before the painting of the "Rajah", blindfolded me, seated herself in the other chair to my right, and we both maintained absolute silence for some fifteen minutes of meditation.  This, she had said, was for the purpose of preparing the requisite Occult atmosphere, and so making it possible for us, the more effectively, to consecrate our efforts.  The routine of our subsequent meetings followed practically the same course.

Meanwhile my correspondence expanded rapidly among a widespread number of members of the Society, mostly in America.  It soon became more than I could cope with alone.  I presented this fact to Mr. Judge who deputed assistance to help us care for this correspondence.

Mrs. Tingley kept silence on the subject of Mr. Judge's cognisance of her connection with me, and I also maintained the same silence toward Mr. Judge as to what was going on in my interviews with Katherine Tingley.  He, on the part, never discussed this relationship with me; I felt absolutely sure that he had a full knowledge of all that went on, as was evidenced by numerous inferential remarks he made from time to time bearing on these various matters.

Towards the summer of 1894, shortly before Judge left for Europe, a suspension of our meetings was agreed upon by Mrs. Tingley and myself and, as a matter of fact, they were never again resumed.

Mr. Judge came home from the London "trial" in August, 1894.   The agitation quickly began again so that it became clear that nothing short of the utter destruction of Mr. Judge's influence would ever satisfy the conspirators against his Theosophical reputation.  Mr. Judge's health, by this time, was greatly broken down.  Something had to be done to secure rest and relaxation from the terrific strain of the continual pressure of events besides the heavy burden of his daily work.  Mrs. Tingley proposed to me that Mr. Judge be induced to go to Mineral Wells, near San Antonio, Texas, where she offered to go, and, if possible, nurse him back to health.  This was early in 1895 when it was becoming every day more apparent that some decisive action would be necessary at the forthcoming Convention of the American Section, to be held the last Sunday in April at Boston.  Arrangements were made accordingly, Mr. Judge going by way of Cincinnati for a short visit to Mr. Buck, one of his staunchest supporters, who was to receive and forward all mail to Mr. Judge, whose real destination was kept secret in order to secure the needed privacy.  Mrs. Tingley went direct to Mineral Wells in order to make the necessary arrangements before Mr. Judge arrived.  She rented a small, poorly-furnished house from a German woman.  Mrs. Tingley rendered invaluable service, both by her devoted care of Mr. Judge and by acting as his amanuensis when he was too ill to write himself.  Occasional long typewritten letters were sent by Mr. Judge himself to me, containing instructions and suggestions in elucidation of the various matters alluded to in Mrs. Tingley's letters, which were in her own handwriting.

Preparations for the coming American Convention were hampered by the absence of Mr. Judge from New York City, so that a committee, consisting of C.A. Griscom, Jr., A.E. Spencer and myself met daily to deal with such matters as Mr. Judge entrusted to us.  Mr. Judge was confined to his bed most of the time, and towards the end of his absence, the committee was enlarged by adding other well-known Theosophists from New York, Brooklyn, Boston, Buffalo and Chicago, whom Mr. Judge named in his letters to us.  He was away, in all, about two and a half months, and when he returned to New York City in March, 1895, he was still very weak but sufficiently improved in health to be able to direct with comparative vigor the strenuous work requiring his immediate attention.   As far as I am aware, none by [but] Mr. Buck and myself knew of Mr. Judge's whereabouts during his absence from New York City, though notice that he was away was published in his magazine "The Path".

After his return, a throat-affection which has troubled him before, recurred, so that he could speak only in a hoarse whisper. He discussed his plans for the Boston Convention, that was to take place at the end of April, 1895, with the Committee, which resulted in an entire separation from the Adyar Section of the original Theosophical Society, - the adoption of the name "The Theosophical Society in America", and the almost unanimous election of Mr. Judge as President for life of the new Society.

Coming now to the series of events whereby Katherine Tingley became the head of the new society and in its "Esoteric Section" or "School", immediately following the death of Mr. Judge, it should be borne in mind that up to that time, she was unknown to the Society at large, excepting to a very few members at the headquarters in New York, whose acquaintance came about by the carrying of messages to and fro' from her to Mr. Judge.  Some of them have conversed with her, and have formed conclusions of their own, as I did.

After the summer of 1895, Mr. Judge grew steadily worse, and after vain attempts to regain his strength, died on Saturday, March 21st, 1896, at his apartment on West 56th Street, New York City.  Mr. E.T. Hargrove, who had been living with Mr. and Mrs. Judge for some time previously, was present when Mr. Judge died.  During this closing period of Mr. Judge's life, I saw him frequently, the last time being only a few days before he passed away.  Of Katherine Tingley, he saw but little; indeed I frequently wondered at her apparent indifference to his condition.  Nevertheless, it was she who advised me of his death, by telegram, to my residence at Bayside, Long Island.   The telegram did not reach me until Sunday morning, March 22nd, and, as requested in her message, I forthwith hurried to her home.

She received me in her room, where she was lying in her bed in a state of apparent exhaustion and in a somewhat confused state of mind, due, she said, to a sleepless night.  She began excitedly to tell me of a "vision" she had had of Mr. Judge, who, according to her statement, had appeared to her twice during the night, both times in great apparent distress because he could not express his wishes and intentions upon his former closest associates.  After a time she outlined, with much animation, plans and suggestions for elaborate funeral services.  No allusion was made by her at that visit to the question of her "Successorship" to Mr. Judge.

Immediately after leaving Mrs. Tingley, I went to the Judge's apartment.   Mrs. Judge took me into her husband's room and we stood for some time silent in the presence of the dead.  We then returned to the living-room and discussed the most necessary things to be done.  Mrs. Judge requested me to go with her on the day after the funeral to the bank where Mr. Judge had a safety-deposit-box, which she wished to open in my presence.

Mr. Judge's funeral and cremation occurred on Monday, March 22rd, and while Mrs. Tingley had been the prime mover in the funeral arrangements, she was reticent as to her part in the proceedings, and although present at the ceremonies, managed to pass unnoticed.

On Tuesday, March 24th, I accompanied Mrs. Judge to the bank.   Opening the box there, we found Mr. Judge's Will, some purely personal matters and other papers, also a tube containing a portion of H.P.B.'s ashes, which Mrs. Judge gave to me.  When Mrs. Judge opened the Will, we found that Mrs. Archibald Keightley (well-known to Theosophists under the pseudonym of "Jasper Niemand") and I, had been appointed by Mr. Judge as joint executors of hisWill.  He bequeathed to Mrs. Keightley and to me, two portraits of the Masters, (M. and K.H.) that, at the time, were hanging in the E.S.T. Room at headquarters.  Mrs. Keightley was to have the first choice and she subsequently chose the portrait of Master M.  The other portrait is now at Point Loma.

As Mrs. Archibald Keightley was then resident in London, England, I took charge of affairs at Headquarters, and of Mr. Jude's papers and effects in the office of the "The Path" there, with her cabled consent.  I requested Mr. Hargrove and Mr. Griscom to be present in the segregation of the large collection of papers left by Mr. Judge, and in their examination, to which they readily consented.  We worked together thus for several evenings far into the night.  We went through all Mr. Judge's private papers.  Many of these consisted of letters from members and friends, having no bearing on the affairs of the Society, and these we decided to burn, out of consideration for those numerous correspondents.  I packed these letters into sacks which I sealed and afterwards burned in the furnace of my home on Long Island.

Among all the papers and other documents left by Mr. Judge, we found nothing whatever in his handwriting bearing upon the future conduct of the Society after his death.  Nor did we find anything in his writing naming Mrs. Tingley, or anyone else, either directly or indirectly, as his successor in the affairs of the Theosophical Society in America or in the Esoteric Section, or any directions of any kind to be followed in the event of his death.  But, on the second evening our our examination (i.e., on Tuesday night, March 24th) we came across a blank book of some 150 pages, containing ten pages of various private notes and memoranda in the handwriting of Mr. Judge, and dated at various intervals in 1894.  Nearly all these memoranda appeared to related to Messages received by Mr. Judge, bearing on the charges made against him by Mrs. Besant.  In one of these occurs this passage.

"You have much from H.P.B. which you have not given out, and you may give it also to your successor."

There is no reference in that particular message to any person whatsoever.   In another memorandum, pasted in the book, and which is typewritten, but signed by Mr. Judge and dated by him, Dec. 5, 1894, he declares to be not genuine, and a hoax, an alleged phenomenally received Message, on which Mr. Judge was asked by the recipient to pronounce an opinion.  In the course of this memorandum Mr. Judge states:

"There is a peculiar and definite odor which comes with all genuine objective messages from the Masters which cannot be imitated by any chemist, but which when once identified, cannot be mistaken."

Both the above-mentioned matters were referred to in print by Mr. Judge in "The Path" and elsewhere, long before his death, it will be remembered.

In another note, occurring between one dated November 26, 1894 and November 30, 1894, is the memorandum, above mentioned, entered December 5th, from notes made December 1st or November 30th.  It should be observed that Mr. Judge's various notations do not fill the page.  Thus, there are large blank gaps on pages 1 and 2:   page 4 is wholly blank, page 9 nearly so, pages 10 and 11, 12, 13 and 14, wholly so, while pages 15, 16, 17 and 18 are filled with notes, which complete the entries.   Some of these are in black and some in red ink but all are in the writing of Mr. Judge.  In places the notes are very difficult to read.  All are fragmentary and only by a liberal stretch of imagination could the notes be called a "diary" in any sense.

In the note just mentioned as inserted between one dated November 25th and one dated November 20th, 1894, though apparently entered on December 5th, is included a sign [] which occurs also in two places on Page 18.  Others signs among the notes refer to other persons.  The sign [] to which the three references mentioned occur, was one I was acquainted with as designating Mrs. Tingley, as Mr. Judge had pointed it out to me as being his sign for Katherine Tingley.  It was well-known among his intimates that Mr. Judge used various signs to designate his collaborators and also that he had a sign of his own which he often used for a signature when writing to those close to him.

The references in the notes to this sign for Mrs. Tingley bore in no way upon the question of leadership or successorship, but I pointed out the sign to Messrs Hargrove and Griscom as being that of a "Chela" with whom Mr. Judge had been associated for several years past.  I did this, because my experience with her had led me to believe that this term was applicable to her, and because I thought it best not to mention her name at that time.  Both Mr. Hargrove and Mr. Griscom inferred that the "Chela" was a man, and plied me with questions.  They desired to read the "diary" forthwith, but after a few glances at it, I decided I would take it to Mrs. Tingley, so I did not stop to disillusion them, but asked them to go on with the work of sorting the papers, saying that I would return as soon as possible.  Although it was then after nine o'clock in the evening, I went to Mrs. Tingley's home.  With her and her husband was a gentleman whom Mrs. Tingley introduced to me as Francis S. Pierce, saying that he was not a Theosophist.  Both remained in the room while Mrs. Tingley and I went over the contents of the "diary" in a cursory manner.

Mrs. Tingley then displayed the first signs of her intention to step into Mr. Judge's shoes as his "successor".  She did not do this in so many words, but merely assumed a tone of authority which he maintained thereafter.  With respect to the "diary" itself, there was no word or combination of words on which her assumption could be based.  At her request, I left the "diary" with her.

On my return to Madison Ave., the headquarters, it was past eleven o'clock.  I was at once importuned by Messrs. Hargrove and Griscom to say what I knew of the "Chela" and of "his" association with Mr. Judge.   They wanted to know more concerning the contents of the "diary", especially with respect to the future conduct of the society.  Having been warned by Mrs. Tingley not to give any definite information, or to make any suggestions, I replied that I would tell them what they desired to know at a meeting that would be called as soon as the "Chela" had selected those who should be present.

The next morning, (Wednesday, March 25th) at her home, names of those to be invited to this meeting were discussed.  It developed that she had a decided aversion to including Mr. Hargrove and Claude Falls Wright.  I insisted on the desirability of having at least Mr. Hargrove present, to which she finally consented.   C.A. Griscom, Jr., E. T. Patterson, Joseph E. Fussell, and James Pryse were added to the list.  In accordance with this decision, reached in my interview with Katherine Tingley, I later in the day interviewed Mr. Patterson and arranged that all those  named should meet the next day, Thursday, March 26th, at a private room at the "Hardware Club" for luncheon.  After all had promptly assembled, and after a lunch partaken of in a somewhat tense atmosphere of expectancy, I told the party that Mr. Judge had left no special instructions for the future,, either by word of mouth or in his Will, and had nominated no successor to carry on this Theosophical work.  I added, however, that Mr. Judge had been closely connected in active collaboration during the last four years of his life, with one who was apparently a "Chela" of the Masters, and resident of New York City.  I then spoke of my own association with this "Chela" and said that Mr. Judge had been fully cognizant of it.  I stated that at the request of this "Chela" I had called them together to acquaint them with the situation, and to invite them to meet at the "Chela's" residence that evening at 8:30.  A multitude of questions were asked me regarding my own impressions and conclusions.  A feeling of relief seemed to come to all present, in the hope of a more orderly condition to replace their uncertainty and apprehension as to the future administration of the society.

At the meeting that evening, all arrived promptly; the social preliminaries were brief, and the small assembly quickly settled down to business.   Some one suggested that Mr. Griscom and Mr. Fussell act as recorders of the proceedings.  Hours then passed in reminiscences of Mr. Judge.  Katherine Tingley was especially eulogistic; she was prolific in her recital of personal experiences, interwoven with subtile hints as to their Occult significance.  We heard of many qualities and acts of Mr. Judge, heretofore unknown to us.  She showed an intimate knowledge of Mr. Judge's character, ideals, aims and habits.  All of this was a veritable feast to our hearts and minds.

The burning question of the future of the Society, left without a leading mind, was earnestly debated.  Tentative suggestions for a future President were discussed, and the duties and qualities considered.  Katherine Tingley disclosed considerable personal knowledge of possible candidates, both in New York and elsewhere.   Though she had never been at the London Headquarters, and only just a few times at 144 Madison Avenue, New York, she described various centres, the actions of the members, their work and environment, even to the pictures on the walls of the Lodge rooms.   Some of these descriptions, Mr. Hargrove and Mr. James Pryse were able to verify of their own knowledge.  Meanwhile the night wore on and it was nearly daylight when the meeting came to a close.  Practically no definite proposition had been brought to a conclusion, but everyone felt that an opportunity had been gained and no duty neglected.   We went to breakfast, from Mrs. Tingley's, at a nearby-by restaurant, after which we repaired to our respective homes. 

[Compare the above account with Neresheimer's brief account written in an 1896 letter to Alice Cleather.]

At the commencement of our next meeting, that same evening (Friday, March 27th) Katherine Tingley stated that an uninterrupted effort must be continued until a satisfactory plan was evolved that would insure the future stability of the Society.   She sat in a rocker in the oriel window, with the rest of us gathered about her, much in the same manner as the evening before.  Mr. Patterson nominated me as a suitable candidate for President, while Mr. Hargrove proposed Dr. Buck of Cincinnati.   Mr. Hargrove was also mentioned, but neither he nor I was willing to take the position, and Dr. Buck was not present at the meeting.  A long and animated discussion followed and finally I proposed that Katherine Tingley be asked to take the office of President of the Society.  This raised the question of the direction of the "Esoteric Section", which function Katherine Tingley almost peremptorily assumed, unquestioned by anyone present.  The Presidency, on the other hand, she refused outright.

A deep and prolong silence ensured, and no one even moved for many minutes.  Suddenly Mr. Hargrove, who was sitting at Katherine Tingley's right, made an unsuccessful attempt to speak.  Failing, however, to utter a sound, he became deathly pale and his body grew right.  At last he said slowly, in stentorian tones:

"Make up your minds and go thorough with it."

After a lengthy pause, during which Mr. Hargrove revived, a decision was made and unanimous assent given to Mr. Patterson's proposal.  Mrs. Tingley then declared that she already was the "Outer Head" of the Esoteric Section, but as to the Presidency, she insisted it would be an unwise step, and might be objected to by many members; that for the present no President need be elected, as the Society could go on as heretofore, with Mr. Hargrove acting as temporary President; and that a regular President could be elected the following month at the annual Convention in April

The atmosphere of the meeting assumed a less tense character, these important matters having been disposed of, and the next step was to consider a proposal made by Katherine Tingley to choose the personnel for a so-called "Council of Guardians" to consist of fifty-two Members chosen from among the membership of the Society.  The next step was to plan a meeting for all "E.S." members near enough to be present.  It was decided to hold this meeting at noon on Sunday, March 29th, 1896, at the headquarters, 144 Madison Avenue, when those attending were to be informed of the authenticity of the new "Outer Head".  Katherine Tingley had insisted that her identity must remain unknown a year to all except the "Council of the Guardians."  To all others she wished to be known only by the name of "Promise."  C.A. Griscom and an assistant were deputed to arrange for the clerical work.

Katherine Tingley further suggested immediate preparations for an itinerary for all groups of the "Esoteric Section" throughout the country to be visited and advised of the transactions which had taken place at the residence of the "outer head" directly after Mr. Judge's death, and to communicate to them the main facts leading up to the new regime.  Mr. James Pryse was to cover the territory west of Chicago, including California.  Mr. J.E. Fussell was chosen to visit the states in the East and West of the State of New York, etc., including Chicago and St. Louis; and Mr. Patterson was to visit the lodges of the States throughout the South.   They were to leave New York at the earliest possible date after the "E.S." meeting to be held on Sunday, March 29th.

Nearly all these suggestions and plans arrived at during the second meeting at Mrs. Tingley's home, were adopted with enthusiasm by those present, and subsequently by all those whose assistance were enlisted.  Every item of the arrangements as so carefully planned and ordered for presentation to the members that there was not the slightest apprehension felt by those present that any of them could miscarry.  This assumption turned out to be entirely correct.  What was one by Katherine Tingley during this interval and transition stage was nothing short of genius in her versatility, bold and precise action, and her making use of her collaborators in the best possible manner.

At the meeting of the "esoteric section" held at 144 Madison Avenue on Sunday, March 29th, 1896, there was a large attendance.  Mr. E.T. Hargrove addressed the meeting, and during the course of his remarks read and commented on a few extracts from the "diary" before mentioned.  At the conclusion of his statement to the members, Mr. Hargrove was followed in turn by James Pryse, Joseph B. Fussell,  E.T. Patterson, Claude Falls Wright, Mrs. G.L. Griscom, Jr., and myself.   Mrs. Griscom and Claude Falls Wright had been subsequently added to the "Council" spoken of previously.  All of us made brief remarks in support and confirmation of Mr. Hargrove's address to the members.

A printed one-page sheet, stamped with the same date, i.e., March 29, 1896, was at once sent out to all "E.S." members throughout the world, and was followed with a pamphlet report of the meeting, covering 19 printed pages, and dated April 3rd, 1896, purporting to give the "verbatim report" of the meeting of the "E.S." the preceding Sunday, the 29th, as mentioned above.  In this pamphlet Mr. Hargrove states in brackets on page 12:

"I have made two or three additions to the verbatim report of my remarks at this meeting, consisting of further messages and quotations from Mr. Judge's diary."

Mr. Judge's "diary" is in my possession and can be seen at any time by any responsible Theosophist.  I desire to state that "the further messages and quotations from Mr. Judge's dairy" of which Mr. Hargrove writes in the above pamphlet of April 3ed, 1896, are not in the book and never were, as any inspection will verify.  Those alleged "messages and quotations" attributed to Mr. Judge could only have been concocted by Mrs. Tingley, assisted by Mr. Hargrove and Mr. J.N. Fussell, who alone were closely associated with Katherine Tingley at headquarters at that time, and who, with her, drafted all communications that then went out from Headquarters.  I refer above particularly to those "messages and quotations" declared by Mr. Hargrove, on pages 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 of the pamphlet, to have been received by Mr. Judge through "Promise" from H.P.B. and entered by him in his "diary".  Furthermore, I desire to say that both the one-page circular dated with a stamp, March 29, 1896, and the pamphlet dated April 3, 1896, were never approved by me, and were sent out without my knowledge, and never seen by me until after they were in general circulation among the members of the "Esoteric Section."

At this time a number of sensational articles appeared in the New York Daily Papers, revealing the name of Katherine Tingley as Mr. Judge's "successor".  this came as a shock to mot of the members of the Society, who had only so far known her by the name of "Promise".  Immediately thereafter, Katherine Tingley took possession of Headquarters and established an office for herself there, where she went daily, directing and supervising all the various activities of the different departments of the Society.  Preparations were made for the Annual Convention to be held in one of the large rooms at the Madison Square Gardens Building, New York City.  Katherine Tingley attended the Convention but, although she sat on the platform, she took no official part.  E.T. Hargrove was elected President of the T.S. in America, and a printed Report of the Convention was issued later, giving the proceedings in detail.  This was at the end of April, 1896.  Many meetings of the "Esoteric Section" were held during this period, at which Katherine Tingley presided as "Outer Head" and a large number of new members were promiscuously admitted to its fold.

The foregoing covers the chief points of interest in which I as a direct participant during the period immediately following Mr. Judge's death.  I think it is proper to say that my impressions of Katherine Tingley's genuineness as an occultist were not always completely convincing to me, - indeed I already had my misgivings in this respect even at a much earlier date.  I soon discovered that she had never studied Theosophy, - in fact she never at any time claimed to have done so.  I often tried to find an explanation that would reconcile me to the many incongruities of speech and action that I noticed in her.  After she had taken the place of "Outer Head" I was forcibly struck by the great difference between her and Mr. Judge, who, to my observation, had at all times been consistent in word and act with the philosophy and teaching he promulgated.  Having been intimately acquainted with Mr. Judge for over ten years, the confidence I felt in him from the very first, grew with our familiarity.  His grasp of the philosophy impressed me more and more.  He was a constant student of the "Bhagavad Gita", upon which he loved to discourse, and his life was a wonderful exemplification of its teachings.

Mr. Judge was at all times a most zealous and humble worker for the Masters he revered.  His perfect sincerity and frankness, his modesty, unassuming manner, and constant readiness to give of  his best to all who came in contact with him, were his most outstanding characteristics.  He never asked for anything for himself.  He recognized H.P.B. as his Teacher, and I never heard him claim, or even intimate, that he was her equal as an occultist.  Even though, to my knowledge, he received communications from the Masters, long before he ever knew or met Mrs. Tingley, he never referred to these in order to draw attention to himself.  He truly honored H.P.B.'s memory, and proclaimed her to be a staunch devotee and exponent of the teachings of the Masters of Wisdom, and he defended her through thick and thin during her life-time and after she was gone, when reflections were made as to her rectitude and sincerity.   At a later date, when he was himself attacked, he refrained from all vituperation, and worked on unremittingly, never failing in the task he had set himself to spread the teachings of Theosophy, and present them to the public in such a form that they might be readily understood by all.  His practical application of Theosophical precepts, in the first ten volumes of the "Path" - so lucid, fresh and helpful, - are to this day unequalled, and I am hoping to see these published in book-form, so that they may be more readily accessible to those who cannot read them in the rare editions of the "Path", now so difficult to procure.

By reason of my intimate and prolong association with Mr. Judge, I knew that his integrity was at all times irreproachable, and, to my mind, those who attribute unworthy motives to him show a singular lack of understanding of his true nature and character.  Mr. Judge cannot, in my opinion, be held responsible for the mistakes made by others after his decease, since he never, either by spoken or written work, nominated, or even suggested a successor, or gave any instructions whatsoever as to the direction of the Society, or the "Esoteric Section" after his death.  The mistakes and failures, the storms and stresses in which I have shared during the years since then, have but served to confirm and strengthen my faith in him, and in the Theosophy he so nobly did his part to preserve uncorrupted and undefiled.


Katherine Tingley and Point Loma

Immediately after the close of the Convention, it was announced that it would be necessary for a "Crusade" to be undertaken by Katherine Tingley and a small party of devoted Theosophists, chosen by her to accompany her, to carry the message of Theosophy "to all the peoples of the world", now said to be reaching a point of understanding that would enable them to understand the philosophy, and accept the ethics of the "Wisdom Religion".  New Centres and Study-Groups were to be formed, and members were to be instructed as to how to present the teachings in a way to suit the needs of the people and plant the sees of Universal Brotherhood.

The "Crusade: started from New York on June 6th, 1896, when Katherine Tingley, E.T. Hargrove, F.M.Pierce, Claude Falls Wright and  his wife embarked for England, to be joined there by Alice L. Cleather and the Rev. W. Williams.  While the party was in Ireland, Mr. J.E. Fussell and I joined them, and it was there that Katherine Tingley first introduced the appellation of "Leader" as applied to herself, which came to me as a considerable surprise.  Like many of the other workers, I was, at one time, filled with admiration for the masterly way in which Katherine Tingley conducted affairs - at other times I was filled with apprehensions.

One day in Dublin, shortly before my return to New York, Katherine Tingley gave me a roughly drawn sketch of San Diego Harbor, and Point Loma, California, on which she had made an arrow-mark, where she said the great "Seat of Learning", of which Mr. Judge spoke in an E.S. communication, dated November 3rd, 1894, was to be established, and a Temple erected, as well as homes for a number of faithful members.   She instructed me to go to this spot and purchase a tract of land suitable for the purposes outlined, and she told me to endeavor to accomplish this transaction before her return with the "Crusaders", so that they might go there direct upon their arrival.  This I did by proxy, through C.A. Griscom and Mr. Pambo, a prominent member of San Francisco.  They acquired a tract of land of about 80 acres; - all virgin soil, located along the ocean front, with a wonderful view of the opposite side of the bay, the harbor and the Cuyamaca Mountains.  A plan was drawn up, by the architect in New York, for a Temple to be built on a promontory overlooking the ocean; a copy of which was published in the "Path" of February, 1897.  A sculptured marble foundation-stone was set in place, and immediately upon the arrival of Katherine Tingley and her party a ceremony of dedication took place (on February 23, 1897) which, being well advertised, - the May of the City having been induced to preside on the occasion, - was attended by a large number of people.  Accounts were widely published in newspapers all over the country, and the event thus widely advertised.

Katherine Tingley then proceeded with the other "Crusaders" to New York, stopping at a number of large cities on their way to hold meetings and come in contact with members there.

During the absence of the party, I received instructions from Katherine Tingley concerning affairs to be attended to at Headquarters, and information was sent to me, concerning the activities of the "Crusaders", to pass on to the members throughout the country.  They were absent for nearly ten months, and during that time visited Great Britain, Holland, Germany, France, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Greece, India and Australia.  On the evening of their arrival in New York, they were greeted by a full house at Madison Square Gardens at a meeting at which I presided.   Katherine Tingley, E.T. Hargrove, Dr. Franz Hartmann of Austria, Dr. Buck and I addressed the audience.

Plans were made during that year (1897) for a great Congress to be held in 1899 at Point Loma.  A member from Westerly, Rhode Island, Dr. Lorin F. Wood, - expressed a desire to locate at Point Loma, during the summer of 1897, in order to build a Sanitarium there.  He arranged with Katherine Tingley to purchase a tract of 40 acres adjoining the land owned by the Society, for that purpose, and Katherine Tingley suggested that Dr. Wood erect a building that would be suitable, not only for his needs, but also for the accommodation of guests, as a quasi-hotel to be used during the Congress.   Dr. Wood agreed to do this, and he left shortly afterwards for Point Loma with his family.

In 1898 the re-organization of the Society took place at the Chicago Convention, held on February 18th of that year.  A new Constitution was drawn up by a committee with Judge O'Rourke, a member from Fort Wayne, Indiana, as chief adviser, - subject, however, to Katherine Tingley's approval at every point.  I was not present at the first few meetings of this Committee, and only joined the same after the clauses pertaining to Katherine Tingley's autocractic powers had been agreed upon.  It was evident that I had been purposely left out of the previous deliberations, and that the matter had been accepted and agreed to before I had an opportunity to express my opinions.

At the Chicago Convention the name of the Society was changed to "The Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical Society", the "Theosophical Society" only applying to the "Literary" department of the "Universal Brotherhood", and to other subsidiary departments.  Katherine Tingley assumed the title of "Leader and Official Had", invested with "Power to declare the policies and direct the affairs of the Society, appoint and specify the duties of all cabinet-officers and other officials, superintendents and agents, and with power to remove any or all of these at her discretion."

It was not long before evidences of dissatisfaction appeared, and objections of all sorts were made by branches as well as individual members, many of whom registered their resignations.  Katherine Tingley attributed these to purely personal enmity towards herself, and appeared to welcome these withdrawals, all the more that a strong wave of enthusiasm grew at the same time, due to the alluring prospects held out to members for a theosophical stronghold at Point Loma where a chosen few might, at the invitation of the "Leader", take part, in however humble a way, in the "Masters's Work", - an ideal towards which every member aspired.  In 1899 all were urged to be present, if possible, at a Congress, to be held at Point Loma on April 13th, when a "Great School of Learning", to be called the "School for the Revival of the Lost Mysteries of Antiquity", was to be dedicated.  So great was the response that, when the time came, the building erected by Dr. Wood was insufficient to house the large number of guests that arrived , (over five hundred in all) and tents had to be put up to provide accommodations.  A constant whirl of action was kept up from early morning until the dawn of the next day, when all were again expected to assemble on the hill-side to greet the rising sun with a hymn of praise.  Liberal donations were made for the building of a "City Beautiful", in which many entertained hopes of being able to live and lead an ideal Life of Brotherhood and Service.

After the actual Congress was over, camp-fires were lighted, speeches were arranged, - all of which consumed the hours daily until after midnight.  This aftermath of the Congress lasted for several weeks, after which a small number of members who had signified a desire to remain at Point Loma, formed the nucleus which provided a basis for Katherine Tingley's further plans.  The first of these was the removal of the Headquarters of the Society from New York to Point Loma, and this was finally accomplished a year later by Katherine Tingley, with a large staff of workers that she had meanwhile gathered together.

Immediately more applications poured in from members who desired to become student-workers at Point Loma.  Practically all was done by the members without remuneration, while donations and loans at low interest were offered, and valuable and goods of all sorts were given.  Enthusiasm ran high.  Scholars, teachers, artisans and workers of all sorts, skilled and unskilled, flocked to the headquarters so fast that strict regulations had to be enforced in order to prevent an overflow before suitable accommodations could be provided for all.  A school, for the children of the members, was established, with special stress laid on the necessity for character-building, which latter, later on, developed into the so-called "Raja Yoga System of Education".  This as largely advertised, and propaganda of all sorts made, by means of alluring press-notices and literature that was widely circulated.   The best use was made of the splendid and varied talents of the members assembled at Point Loma, and the whole undertaking promised to become an ideal expression of theosophical life and effort..  Theosophical lectures were given in San Diego, dramatic and musical programmes were offered to the public, and the "students" saw before them unequalled opporuntites for carrying out their ideals in practice.   Indeed the realization of "Universal Brotherhood" appeared to them to be almost in sight.  With all this, a good many malicious attacks had to be met; but these only increased the devotion and enthusiasm of the resident-members at Headquarters.

A high standard of morals was maintained at all times at Point Loma, and was consistently and rigidly enforced, - violation of the rules being swiftly followed by an invitation  to leave, money being provided for this purpose when necessary.

During all this time (after the Chicago Convention in February, 1898, and until 1901) I was still living in New York, and only received glowing accounts and reports of the activities going on at Point Loma.  I then moved with my family to Headquarters, remaining there until 190, when business matters called me away to Colorado.   It was not until March, 1919, that I was again able to return to Point Loma.

Meanwhile the organization had expanded and grown;  but I soon found that it had, at the same time, developed a fatal cancer within.  The "Leader and Official Head", who even from the very beginning had frowned upon any difference of view-point from her own, had meanwhile expelled not only individuals, but had dissolved whole branches throughout the country, and abroad.  She made light of these defections, and it  became more and more difficult for members to work with their wonted enthusiasm.  As a result of her unsympathetic attitude, and that of others who followed her lead, the membership began to decrease rapidly, and thus most of the results of Mr. Judge's efforts to build up the Society throughout the country were lost.   While at one time the Point Loma Headquarters had assembled about five hundred workers - "students" with high aspirations and noble aims, - these gradually diminished, and many of those who remained were time-servers, satellites, and victims of fanaticism who had been reared in their midst.  These surrounded Katherine Tingley with flattery, to which, unfortunately, she all all too susceptible.  This fostered her ambition and vanity to such an extent that it brought about disastrous results.   There can be no doubt in my mind that, in the early days, her natural trend had been genuinely ethical and sincere, which fact was proven amply by her insistence on maintaining the highest moral tone in the Colony which she founded.  Moreover, she succeeded in gathering around her a large body of earnest and devoted followers, who gave up everything in order to live the ideal life she had outlined for them at Point Loma.   However, her richly endowed faculties were crippled more and more by growing ambition and vanity, which caused her to become increasingly self-satisfied, ungenerous and willful.  Hence, she increasingly lost sight of her erstwhile noble purposes, with the result that, in my opinion, the Point Loma organization ceased to be an instrument for the purpose for which it was originally founded, and so, having finally come to that conclusion, I left Point Loma with my family early in March, 1929.

Katherine Tingley passed away in the summer of the same year, as the result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident.

(Signed)  E.A. Neresheimer

Feb. 24, 1932.

Return to Table of Contents of H.N. Stock's
"William Q. Judge and Katherine Tingley" series of articles