Published by Blavatsky Study Center. Online Edition copyright 2004.

About Spiritualism.

[An Interview with Madame Blavatsky]


[Reprinted from The Daily Graphic (New York) November 13, 1874, p. 90.  This interview was reprinted in The Spiritual Scientist (Boston), November 19, 1874, pp. 121-122. To this reprint H.P. Blavatsky added a number of annotations correcting several statements given in the interview.  The reprinted article with HPB's handwritten corrections is found in a bound volume of The Spiritual Scientist preserved in the library of The College of Psychic Studies, London.  See the facsimile of H.P.B's corrections.  The facsimile is reproduced here with the kind permission of The College of Psychic Studies. At the end of the interview as originally published in The Daily Graphic was a letter from Madame Blavatsky on Dr. George Beard and the mediumship of the Eddy Brothers. ]

Mme. Blavatsky visited THE DAILY GRAPHIC office yesterday, and excited a great deal of interest.  She exhibited the silver jewel of the Order of St. Ann, which was buried with her father at Stavropol, and which the spirit of George Dix conveyed to her during a recent seance at the Eddy homestead in Vermont.  Her object in visiting us was to hand to the chief editor a letter a propos of the Olcott-Beard discussion. The lady expresses herself with great vivacity in favor of the Eddy brothers, and seems very much exercised about the Beard letter. Mme. Blavatsky has travelled in almost every quarter of the world, has met with many romantic adventures, and is a remarkably good-natured and sprightly woman.  She is handsome, with full voluptuous figure, large eyes, well formed nose, and rich, sensuous mouth and chin.  She dresses with remarkable elegance, is bien gantee, and her clothing is redolent of some subtle and delicious perfume which she has gathered in her wanderings in the far East.

“I was born in 1834 at Ekaterinoslav,” she said, “of which my father, Colonel Hahn-hahn, was Governor.  It is about 200 versts from Odessa.  Yes, he was a cousin of the Countess Ida Hahn-hahn, the authoress.  My mother was a daughter of General Fadeef, and I am a granddaughter of the Princess Dolgorouki.  My mother was an authoress, and used to write under the nom de plume of Zenaida R* * * va.  Do you fellows smoke here?”

“I don’t -------”

“Oh, you mean fellow.”

“But the others do, and you can smoke if you wish.”

“That’s right.  All we Russian ladies like our cigarette.  Why, do you know poor Queen Victoria is nearly frightened into fits because her Russian daughter-in-law smokes.”  Here Mme. Blavatsky took out a book of cigarette papers and a parcel of Turkish tobacco, and deftly rolled up an elegant little cigarette.  The writer gallantly supplied her with a light, and she began to smoke, blowing the blue vapor through her beautiful nostrils with that dreamy relish which the smoker knows so well.

“When my father died,” she proceeded, “I went to Tiflis in Georgia, where my grandfather was one of the three Councillors of the Viceroy Woronzoff.  (Puff, puff.)  When I was sixteen years of age they married me to M. Blavatsky; he was the Governor of Erivan.  Fancy! he was seventy-three and I sixteen.  But mind, I don’t blame anybody - not my friends, not in the least.  (Puff, puff.)  However, at the end of the year we separated.  His habits were not agreeable to me.  As I had a fortune of my own I determined to travel.  I went first of all to Egypt.  I spent three nights in the Pyramid of Cheops.  Oh I had most marvellous experiences.  Then I went to England.  And in 1853 I came to this country.  I was recalled to Russia by the death of my grandmother, Mme. Brajation.  She left me a fortune, but if I had been with her before her death I should have had much more.  She left eight millions of roubles to the convents and monasteries in Moldavia - she was a Moldavian herself.  I went back to Egypt, and penetrated into the Soudan.  I made a great deal of money on that journey.”


“Why, by buying ostrich feathers.  I did not go there for that purpose, but as I found I could do it I did it.  Oh! ostrich feathers that would sell for five or six guineas you could buy there for a cent.  Then I went to Athens, Palestine, Syria, Arabia, and back again to Paris.  Then I went to Homburg and Baden Baden, and lost a good deal of money at gambling, I am sorry to say.  In 1858 I returned to Paris, and made the acquaintance of Daniel Home, the Spiritualist.  He had married the Countess Kroble, a sister of the Countess Koucheleff Bezborrodke, a lady with whom I had been very intimate in my girlhood.  Home converted me to Spiritualism.”

“Did you ever see any of his ‘levitations,’ as they are called?”

“Yes; but give me a light.  (Puff, puff.)  Thanks.  Yes I have seen Home carried out of a four-story window, let down very gently to the ground, and put into his carriage.  After this I went to Russia, converted my father to Spiritualism.  He was a Voltairean before that.  I made a great number of other converts.”

“Are you a medium yourself?”

“Yes; I get some of the manifestations - spirit rappings and such like.”

“Are there many Spiritualists in your country?”

“Yes.  You would be surprised to know how large a number of Spiritualists there are in Russia.  Why, the Emperor Alexander is a Spiritualist.  Would you actually believe it? - the emancipation of the serfs was caused by the appearance of the Emperor Nicholas to the Emperor Alexander.”

“That is a very remarkable statement.”

“It’s true.  The Caesarewitch was one day telling Prince Bariatinsky of it.  He said, ‘Oh, your Imperial Highness, I cannot believe it.’  The Emperor came forward and asked what they were talking about.  Prince Bariatinsky told him what the Casarewitch had said about the appearance of the spirit of the Emperor Nicholas.  The Emperor Alexander turned as pale as a ghost himself, and said ‘It is true.’”

“That is very remarkable.  Where did you travel subsequently?”

I went to Italy and then to Greece.  As I was returning from the Piraeus to Napoli, when we were off Spezzia, the boat in which I was making the voyage, the Evmonia, blowed up, and of four hundred persons on board only seventeen were saved.  I was one of the fortunate ones.  As I laid on my back I saw limbs, heads, and trunks all falling around me.  This was the 21st of June, 1871, I lost all my money and everything I had.  I telegraphed to my friends for money.  As soon as I got it I went to Egypt again, and to the Soudan.  I never saw a white face for four months.  I translated Darwin into Russian while I was in Africa.  I have also translated Buckle into Russian.  I have contributed to the Revue des deux Mondes and several Parisian journals, and have acted as correspondent of the Independence Beige.  I am a member of the order of Eastern Masonry, the most ancient in the world.  I was initiated in Malta.”  Here Mme. Blavatsky showed the writer the jewel of one of the most celebrated orders in existence, the name of which, however, he is not at liberty to give.  “There are not more than six or seven women in the world who have been admitted to this order.  I shall probably stay in America a long time.  I like the country very much.”

The following is Mme. Blavatsky’s letter: