Published by Blavatsky Study Center. Online Edition copyright 2003.
A Summary of the Views of the Editors of Theosophy Magazine
Concerning the Claims about Mrs. Katherine Tingley
[Collated from the anonymous history written by the Editors of Theosophy Magazine and titled
The Theosophical Movement: 1875-1950 (Cunningham Press, 1951), pp. 287-288, 285-286, 288.]
We come now to the "evidence" that Judge intended Mrs. Tingley to be his occult successor. "Mr. Judge," says Mr. Ryan, "left notes on this subject which are so plain and showed such confidence in Katherine Tingley that even had there been no other reasons for their action the [E.S.T.] Council could not reasonably have done anything but accept her as the rightful successor in the E.S.T." The "notes" referred to are nothing more than transcripts of "psychic" messages, obtained through Mrs. Tingley as medium, and alleged to be to Judge from the discarnate H.P.B. The tone of these "notes" is explanation enough of the reluctance of their present possessors to make them easily accessible. Although dressed up in feeble imitation of H.P.B.'s colloquial style, they are strongly reminiscent of the drivel of the seance. . . .
In 1932, several years after the death of Mrs. Tingley, some of the "notes" or pages from the "occult diary" came to light in the pages of the O.E. Library Critic. Dr. H.N. Stokes, editor of the Critic, then expressed his own opinion that the "notes" were in Judge's handwriting, but left the reader to conclude that this identification proves, not that Mrs. Tingley was properly chosen as Judge's occult successor in the "true line" of the Movement, but rather that Judge was deluded into thinking that he had received spiritualistic communications from H.P.B.! Now if Dr. Stokes suspected that Judge was a broken reed, the victim of such psychic follies, how could Mr. Ryan cite Stokes in support of the Tingley succession? Mr. Ryan, apparently, welcomed Stokes' judgment that the psychically received notes were in Judge's handwriting, but the price he paid for this vindication was the reduction of Judge to a dabbler in Spiritualism, a mere psychic dupe. Judge, whom H.P.B. called "part of myself for aeons past," needed a medium, a "helper," to get in touch with H.P.B.! What can succession to such a "leader" be worth?
. . . A sifting of the evidence for the claim that Mrs. Tingley was the occult successor to William Q. Judge produces a few simple statements of fact:
Upon Mr. Judge's death, March 21, 1896, a small group of persons who had been closely associated with him met privately and came to the conclusion that a "leader" or "successor" was needed or desirable. These persons agreed upon Katherine Tingley as the leader and at a meeting of the E.S.T. on March 29 they informed those present that they "knew" who the new leader and successor was. Papers said to have been written by Mr. Judge and the oral testimony of the members of the group were offered in evidence of the true "occult" character of the succession.
Respecting these facts, it is apparent that most if not all of the "documentary proofs" were of "psychic" inspiration. It is of record that the leading figure in the "revelation" of March 29, E.T. Hargrove, repudiated the succession of Mrs. Tingley in less than two years after he had solemnly proposed it, saying that she had been "run in" as Outer Head of the E.S. "as the only person in sight who was ready to hand at the time." E. August Neresheimer stated under oath in 1932 that no evidence of this appointment was found among Judge's effects. James M. Pryse is on record as having characterized Mrs. Tingley as Mr. Judge's "favorite spirit-medium." and as saying that the famous "occult diary" was for him too "sentimental, mushy and spiritualistic. . . to wade through." Mr. Joseph H. Fussell is on record as having written, on March 28, 1896, to the Rev. S.J. Neill in New Zealand: "So far as is at present known W.Q. Judge has left no instructions in regard to carrying on the work of the School."
The Theosophical "succession" of Mrs. Tingley thus becomes lost in a morass of psychic delusion, of claims and counter-claims. If the "evidence" for it be accepted, Judge becomes a guileless psychic and a virtual "disciple" of Mrs. Tingley. If the evidence is rejected, Mrs. Tingley becomes at best a self-deluded woman, at worst a charlatan, and so, also, her close supporters. . . . .
Return to Table of Contents of H.N. Stoke's
"William Q. Judge and Katherine Tingley" series of articles