Published by Blavatsky Study Center. Online Edition copyright 2004.

In The Twilight

[by Annie Besant]

[Reprinted from The Theosophist
(Adyar, Madras, India), May 1910, pp. 1098-1100.]

The Vagrant said:

"I am going to begin this evening. I will tell you about the first occasion on which I saw my Master. I wrote an account of the event once in a pamphlet, but it never appeared in any publication that has lasted. Soon after I had joined the Society, it happened that I was in England at a time when H. P. B. was in Fontainebleau, France, where The Voice of the Silence was written. She wrote me to go over and join her, which I did with joy. She was living in a delightful old house out in the country, and I was put in a bed-room near hers, a door connecting the two. One night I awoke suddenly owing to an extraordinary feeling that there was in the room. The air was all throbbing, and it seemed as if an electric machine was playing there; the whole room was electric. I was so astonished (for it was my first experience of the kind) that I sat up in bed, wondering what on earth could be happening. It was quite dark, and in those days I was not a bit clairvoyant. At the foot of the bed a luminous figure appeared, and stood there from half a minute to a minute. It was the figure of a very tall man, and I thought, from pictures I had seen, it was H. P. B.’s Master. Near him was another figure, more faintly luminous, which I could not clearly distinguish. The brilliant figure stood quite still, looking at me, and I was so utterly astounded that I sat perfectly still, simply looking at Him; I did not even think of saluting Him. So I remained motionless and then gradually the figure vanished. Next day I told H. P. B. what had happened, and she replied: ‘Yes, Master came to see me in the night, and went into your room to have a look at you.’ This was my first experience of seeing a Master; it must have been clearly a case of materialisation, for as I have said, I was not in the least clairvoyant at the time."

"That was a phenomenon on the physical plane," said the Magian; "Tell us your earliest psychic experience."

"One of my earliest psychic experiences occurred at Brighton," the Vagrant smilingly replied, "when Mrs. Cooper-Oakley and I went down there to stay with H. P. B. a few days. She was not well at the time. There was not much room in the house, so Mrs. Oakley and I shared a large attic-like room. After we had retired, a great grey eye appeared to us in turn; it came, floated over the beds and glared at us, first to my bed, then to hers, and then vanished. After it had gone, one leg of Mrs. Oakley’s bed lifted up in the air and went down with a bang, twice. I heard a voice calling me: ‘Annie, my bed is banging.’ Then the leg of my bed did the same thing, and I said: ‘Isabel, my bed is banging too.’ We spoke to H. P. B. next morning about these rather disconcerting experiences, but could get no explanation from her. She was only playing little tricks on us with her favorite elemental. She also used to keep a little elemental under her writing-table to guard her papers in her absence, and she always knew if any one had been there looking at them. On one occasion it hemmed some towels for her, as the President-Founder has related in the Old Diary Leaves. It took very long stitches, but it sewed better than she could at any rate."

"Tell us something more of H. P. B.," cried a voice.

"In the days at Lansdowne Road, there was a young man of about seventeen, a relative of the Master K. H., who used to come to visit H. P. B. in his astral body. She was very fond of him. He was nick-named the Rice King, because once when there was a famine in India, and he was suffering intensely because of the misery he saw around him, he tried to materialise some rice in a storehouse. But not being an expert at this kind of thing, or knowing how to use the forces, he dematerialised it instead, to his great sorrow and dismay. He took an interest in Europeans, and in H. P. B. in particular. She was very fond of him, but he used to exasperate her exceedingly by going to her writing-desk, and fumbling over all her papers, to her intense disgust, asking what those European things were. One night, I remember, he asked her permission to ‘stump up and down the stairs and frighten the chelas.’"

"Well, go on, we want more of H. P. B."

"I dare say you know that at seances where ‘apports’ take place the guides have frequently been asked to bring a newspaper from some distant place, which could not be there at the time of the seance by any ordinary means of transit, train or boat. This is one of the tests which it seems to be impossible to give. There is always some difficulty about it, though the spooks themselves do not seem to know in what the difficulty consists. H. P. B. once handed me some papers she had just been writing, to look over, in which there was a long quotation from a paper printed in India, about what had happened at a garden party. I noted the date and saw it could not possibly have arrived yet from India; I pointed this out to her, and said: ‘H. P. B. how did you get this?’ She said: ‘I copied it.’ But I told her it was out of a paper that had not arrived; it could not have been copied. She said: ‘Oh, nonsense, it could.’ I noted the date of the paper and, when the time came for Indian mail to arrive, I went down to the India Office the next day and asked to look at the Indian papers. I turned to the page from which she had quoted, but found nothing there. Then remembering that when reading astrally, sometimes figures are apt to be inverted, I turned over to another page which it would have been if read upside down, and there was the paragraph, word for word as she had given it. I went back and said to her in a mischievous way: ‘H. P. B. I saw that paragraph of yours in the paper to-day, and it is quite correct.’ ‘Yes, here it is,’ she replied, tossing the paper over to me, a copy she had just received, thinking effectually to silence me. I said: ‘Oh yes, but you had not received it at the time you made the quotation,’ whereupon she only muttered some impolite expression."