Published by Blavatsky Study Center. Online Edition copyright 2004.

[William T. Brown's Last Known
Statement concerning H.P. Blavatsky
and the Mahatmas

[Reprinted from The Madras Christian College Magazine
(Madras, India), January 1890, pp. 545-547.]

Notes and Extracts.

We have made reference in recent numbers of the [Madras Christian College] Magazine to articles on theosophy which have appeared lately in some of the English monthlies.  An article on theosophy and theosophists appeared in the November number of the Lyceum, and attracted considerable attention both among those who are friendly to the theosophical doctrines and among those who are opposed to them.  Several theosophists wrote to the Freeman’s Journal in defence of the cult, maintaining that the statements contained in the article which appeared in the Lyceum were not trustworthy.  But only one of the writers pretended to anything resembling intimacy with the responsible apostles of theosophy, and he had not the courage to append his name to his testimony.  He is, according to his own statement, a relative of Madame Blavatsky.  The writer of the article in the Lyceum is, we understand, Mr. W. T. Brown, B.A., Professor of Constitutional History, Jurisprudence, and Political Economy in University College, Dublin, who is no doubt well remembered at the theosophical headquarters.  Theosophists themselves and those of our readers who took an interest in the exposure of Madame Blavatsky by the editor of this magazine are well aware that Mr. Brown had the best opportunities for forming a sound opinion upon the means and methods of the theosophic marvels, and it will no doubt be of interest to the latter, and perhaps to some of the former, to read the following statement of experiences drawn up by him at the request of the editor of the Lyceum: ---

[Statement by William T. Brown]

“It was in the year 1883 that I read the work of Mr. Sinnett, the spiritualist, describing the wonders performed by the Thibetan Magi.  I was more than impressed by the feats of these holy men.  I was struck with the novelist’s solemn assurances that they could send letters from Thibet to Madras through the air, and then through solid walls, in the wink of a Thibetan eye.  I had had a leaning towards the marvellous from earliest childhood, and here, at last, were holy and magical men, just after my heart.  I resolved, so far as some eight or nine hundred pounds would permit, to take lessons in the wonderful science, to cultivate the acquaintance of these wonderful men, to go out to India, and sit at their wonderful feet.

It would require a volume of some size to narrate with any approach to justice the full story of my acquaintance with the Magi --- a volume which I may yet be induced to write for the benefit of would-be theosophists.  But, for the present, a brief statement of some more important experiences must suffice.

On the 1st of October, 1883, I arrived at Madras, and at once sought the ‘shrine’.  The sacred apartment has been so well and so often described by Dr. Hodgson of Cambridge, and by the servant Coulomb, that I may here content myself by saying it was a kind of recess, off the sitting room of Madame Blavatsky, that in this recess, about three feet from the ground, there was a box attached to the wall, with doors which opened in front, and --- as the woman, Coulomb, with much tact, disclosed later --- with doors which opened behind.  These latter were ‘sliding panels’, opening into the wall which was hollow.  On the other side of this wall was a ‘trap door’ just large enough to admit a Thibetan Magus.  The ‘sliding panels’ and ‘trap door’ were, however, on my arrival, and for some months thereafter, an unknown portion of the shrine, and were not supposed, except by the highly initiated, to have any existence at all.  The box contained a small idol, and other knick-knacks, and before it the Hindu neophytes were wont to fall prostrate.  Well, indeed, might they do so!  For in this very box the Thibetan marvels were accomplished.  Letters from ‘Koot Hoomi’, the Magus, came into the box, direct from Thibet, by lightning express, and letters put into the box, addressed to the Magus, went off to Thibet with equal rapidity.  The theory of eminent ‘occultists’ on the spot was that the Thibetan Magi did these feats by physical power, and were thus showing their supreme dominion over matter.  Coulomb’s theory, as afterwards expounded, was that physical forces sufficed for all explanation.  I incline now to the Coulombian hypothesis.  I have fully realized and adopted it, though there was a time when my heart rebelled against the stern, cold facts adduced to support it.

I had barely arrived at Madras when the Magus ‘Koot Hoomi’ took me in hand.  The extent of my limited fortune was at this time not known to Madame nor to the American Colonel.  It has been urged by my friends that ‘Koot Hoomi’, the Magus, concluded I was possessed of far greater material resources, sufficient in fact for all his physical purposes, and he was, say they, attentive accordingly.  I think that herein the mind of the Magus has been rightly interpreted; first became Madame and the Colonel impressed on me many times that the Society must now be ‘endowed’, and secondly, because when I did disclose to them the amount of my fortune, ‘Koot Hoomi’ was never the same person to me again.  He became distant and thoughtful, and was loath to exhibit.

But at my arrival ‘Koot Hoomi’ showed nothing of reserve or coldness.  Perched on a peak of the far-off Himalayas, he had no doubt discerned me sweltering in the heat of the Suez Canal, all in order that I might lay my respects at his magical feet.  He kept his eye upon me, for he condescended to notice me in marked manner, and to give me a Thibetan token when I arrived in Madras.  He sent a letter flying through space from Thibet, and through the roof of the bungalow into the mystic box.  The letter had the form of an odd piece of paper, and was addressed to myself.  He urged me to feel quite at ease, as he and I might yet become ‘friends’.  What overwhelming kindness!  The Magus did not speak of me being his servant, or even his disciple; he used the word ‘friends’.  My eyes filled with tears!  Was this not a reward for my weary and expensive sea voyage?  Could I be so base as to doubt the authenticity of the missive, or to suspect the great master’s physical power.  And was not the relict of the late Russian General, whom Mr. Sinnett had described as so aristocratic and virtuous, standing in front of the ‘shrine’ at the time?  And had I not seen ‘Koot Hoomi’s’ beloved neophyte, Damodar, take the paper out of the box with his own holy hands?  And did not Madame and Damodar take pains to assure me that the writing was beyond any doubt that of the Thibetan Magus, and that few indeed were the recipients of such exalted communications?

I will not now do more than briefly refer to my further experiences in the magic of our great Indian Empire.  In due time I resolved to travel in search of the ‘masters’ as far north as the Himalayas themselves.  The beloved neophyte Damodar was my constant companion.  The marvels which ‘Koot Hoomi’ performed through this holy young Hindu far exceed belief.  What is to be thought, for instance, of my gold watch-chain being taken away from my dressing-table at Poona, not far from Bombay, and put into the pocket of my dressing-gown (where I never had placed it) at Jamnu Cashmere?  What is to be thought of ‘Koot Hoomi’s’ coming at Lahore into my sleeping apartment at dead of night, of his awakening me by putting a letter into my hands, and of rushing out before I had time to get a light in order to gaze on his sacred countenance?  What is to be thought of ‘Koot Hoomi’s’ coming, on a very dark night, at Lahore, and standing at a distance of fifty yards from the spot where the Colonel and I were sitting; his mystic person arrayed in Hindu turban and white dress?  With what awe I gazed upon his misty outline --- the ‘magnetic conditions’, as the Colonel explained to me, not being favourable for his nearer approach!

What is to be thought of all these manifestations?  Was not Damodar a witness to these marvellous phenomena, and was he not instrumental, or perhaps, as we might say, indispensable in bringing them about?

But enough of Lahore and the Himalayas.  I returned to Madras a poorer, though not yet a wiser man.  Damodar had got back before me, and strange to say I found that Madame Blavatsky had received a revelation --- doubtless by mystic telegraph --- of my experiences in the North.  Arrived at the ‘shrine’ I found that letters came, as before, into the magical box, and that replies could be despatched to Thibet by the old methods.  All went well with the mystical post office until the servant Coulomb, of theosophic renown, offered us an unpoetic, but noteworthy, rationale of these manifestations, by revealing to me and to one or two other true believers the secrets of the sacred letter-box.  This woman offered me further the unpleasant assurance that the holy neophyte Damodar was solely responsible for the ‘Koot-Hoomi’ appearances.  My faith held out against her arguments for a time.  I hoped there might yet be some explanation of what seemed the mechanism of trickery.  But I hoped, I need hardly say, in vain.

I have, since that time, done as much as has been given me to do, in order to restrict the peculiar exhibitions of the Thibetan magic within the limits of Thibet.  I have sought as occasion offered to discredit the ‘wisdom religion’ wherever I found others walking into the toils in which I had been ensnared.  And I have the trust that in this way something has been done to check the spread of physical diseases as well as to prevent waste of money.”