Published by Blavatsky Study Center. Online Edition copyright 2004.

Henry S. Olcott's Deposition to the
Society for Psychical Research, 1884

[Reprinted from the First Report of the Committee of the Society for Psychical Research, Appointed to Investigate the Evidence for Marvellous Phenomena offered by Certain Members of the Theosophical Society, Appendix I, pp. 34-62, London, 1884.  This online edition is reprinted by permission of the
Society for Psychical Research, London.]



Pages 1-6 of the following deposition, referring to two visits of Mr. Damodar in the spirit to the headquarters of the Society, contain some of the most important evidence we have.  It will be seen that in the first case there is nothing in the circumstances which absolutely precludes a previous arrangement between Madame Blavatsky and Mr. Damodar, but of course Mr. Damodar must himself have been a party to it if there was one.  The second case will have a still higher evidential value if we find that General and Mrs. Morgan (whose evidence we have not yet obtained) took notes at the time, confirming dates and circumstances, since these as described scarcely admit of previous arrangement.

Colonel Olcott’s evidence is clear as to his having seen a living man whom he believes to be Mahatma M., and only less so, because the light seems doubtful, as to his having seen another living man whom he believes to be Mahatma Koot Hoomi.  But unfortunately the evidence for apparitions of the Mahatmas is less strong, the only case here given in detail --- the appearance at New York --- leaving it doubtful whether his visitor may not after all have been the real man.  However, his own conviction as to this and other appearances appears to be strong, and his evidence, as far as it goes, corroborates that of others.

The case of the letter said to have fallen in the railway carriage, is more fully described in Mr. Mohini’s deposition, and that of the letter that fell at the house of Sir Jolindra Mohan Tagore is also there dealt with.  The third letter phenomenon, described on p. 58, may become very important if Judge Gadgill proves to be a good observer and to have an accurate recollection of the circumstances.

 The next incident, namely, the alleged precipitation of a strange handwriting, seems, as described, within the powers of a conjurer.  But the account illustrates remarks made in our Report.

The remaining case, the production of the portrait of Colonel Olcott’s Master, Mahatma M., is interesting, because this is the portrait from which (as will be seen in subsequent Appendices) other persons recognise Mahatma M. when they see him or his supposed apparition.  We can hardly regard it as evidence, however, without knowing more about the gentleman who is said to have drawn it.

Meeting on May 11th, 1884.

Present: J. Herbert Stack, Esq.,
F. W. H. Myers, Esq.,
Colonel H. S. Olcott.

MR. MYERS: We, that is to say, the Committee appointed by the Society for Psychical Research, understand that Colonel Olcott has cases to tell us of apparitions of living persons at a distance.  Are there any cases of apparitions at a distance of persons who are not Mahatmas?

COLONEL OLCOTT: Among other cases, I may mention two instances of the projection of the double by a young Hindu gentleman named Damodar.  He is a Brahmin of high caste, a man of modern education, and one of an extremely lovable character and exemplary life.  He is Recording Secretary of the Theosophical Society, and for the past four years has lived at the headquarters of the Society, at first at Bombay, but now at Madras.

MR. MYERS: Just mention what his previous prospects were, and whether he relinquished anything?

COLONEL OLCOTT: His father was a wealthy gentleman occupying a high position in the Government secretariat at Bombay; and the son, besides his paternal expectations, had in his own right about 50,000 or 60,000 rupees.  The father at first gave his consent to the son’s breaking caste --- a most serious step in India --- so as to take up our work.  But subsequently, on his deathbed, his orthodox family influenced his mind, and he demanded that his son should revert to his caste, making the usual degrading penance required in such cases.  Mr. Damodar, however, refused, saying that he was fully committed to the work, which he considered most important for his country and the world; and he ultimately relinquished his entire property, so that he might be absolutely free.  From childhood he has been extremely pious, and knew, like all Hindus who are acquainted with the national literature, of the existence of those wonderful philosophers of the Himalayan slopes and Thibet,, known in Chinese literature as the Great Teachers of the Snowy Mountains, and in India, in Sanscrit literature, as Mahatmas. (1)   He endeavoured to become as quickly as possible the pupil of one of these men, known in recent Western literature as “Mahatma Koot Hoomi.”  This philosopher, with several others, has been from the first connected with the Theosophical Society’s work.  Damodar’s object was realised after a time, and he came into personal relations with the Teacher in question.  He began the course of diet and life which is prescribed for the development of the higher psychic faculties, and with extraordinary rapidity has reached the point where he can at will project his inner self from the physical body.  The body becomes reduced to a state of inertness as regards intelligence; the eyes lose their brightness and thoughtfulness; and the motions of the body, when any are made, are mechanical.

MR. MYERS: Have you yourself seen any persons in this state?


MR. MYERS: Have you seen Damodar in this state?


MR. MYERS: Will you first give us Damodar’s case, and then describe the state of his body while the spirit was away?

COLONEL OLCOTT: Here is a photograph (photograph produced) of Mr. Damodar taken while he was absent from the outer body and travelling in his inner self, or, as you call it, the “phantasm.”  I have also here two sets of documents with the names of witnesses from whom parole confirmation may be had, which seem to prove the possibility of a living man voluntarily travelling in the double, or phantasm, to a great distance and then exercising intelligence.  The first, which we will call A, relates to the following occurrence: --- at Moradabad, N.W.P., India, being on an official tour from Bombay to Cashmere and back, I was very strongly importuned by a gentleman named Shankar Singh, a Government official, and not then a Theosophist, to undertake the cure of two lads, aged 12 and 14 years respectively, who had each on arriving at the age of 10 years become paralysed.  It is known, I believe, to many here that I have the power of healing the sick by the voluntary transference of vitality.  I refused in this instance, having already within the previous year done too much of it for my health.  The gentleman urged me again.  I again refused.  He spent, perhaps, 10 or 15 minutes in trying to persuade me and endeavouring to shake my resolution; but, as I still refused, he went to Mr. Damodar, who was travelling with me in his official capacity.  Shankar Singh represented the case, and appealed to Mr. Damodar’s sympathies, and at last persuaded him to go in the double, or phantasm, to the headquarters of our Society at Madras, and try to enlist the goodwill of Madame Blavatsky.

MR. STACK: What is the distance of Moradabad from Madras?

COLONEL OLCOTT: The distance, approximately, by telegraph line is, I should say, 2,200 miles.

MR. MYERS: Was it known at headquarters that you were at Moradabad on that day?

COLONEL OLCOTT: It was not known that I was at Moradabad, for, owing to the rapid spread of our movement in India, I, while on a tour, was constantly obliged to interrupt the previously settled programme, and go hither and thither to found new branches.  All the elements are against any procurement.  To understand the present case, you must know that it is the rule in those Eastern schools of mystical research that the pupils are not permitted to seek intercourse with Teachers other than their own.  Hence, Mr. Damodar, who is the pupil --- the Sanscrit word is chela --- of the Mahatma Koot Hoomi, could not himself approach my own Teacher, who is another person.  (Colonel Olcott here exhibited the portrait of his own Teacher, but preferred to withhold the name from publicity, though he mentioned it to the Committee.)  Madame Blavatsky and I are pupils of the same Master, and hence she was at liberty to communicate with him on this subject.  Mr. Damodar, preparatory to taking his aerial flight, then sent Mr. Shankar Singh out of the room and closed the door.  A few minutes later he returned to his visitor, who was waiting just outside in the verandah.  They came in together to the part of the house where I was sitting with a number of Hindu gentlemen and one European, and told me what had happened in consequence of my refusal to heal the boys.  Mr. Damodar said that he had been in the double to headquarters (Madras), and had talked with Madame Blavatsky, who had refused to interfere.  But while they were conversing together, both heard a voice, which they recognised as that of my Teacher.

MR. STACK: Not of Mahatma Koot Hoomi?

COLONEL OLCOTT: No, that of my own Teacher.  Mahatma Koot Hoomi had nothing to do with me in this affair.  While they were talking they heard this voice, which gave a message, and Mr. Damodar remarked that, if I would take pencil and paper, he would dictate from memory the message.  I did so.

MR. MYERS: You have the paper?

COLONEL OLCOTT: Yes.  Shankar Singh then, in the presence of all sat down and wrote a brief statement of the circumstances, and it was endorsed by 12 persons, including myself.  (Colonel Olcott here exhibited the document marked B, given at p. 54.)

MR. STACK: I observe that the memorandum is dated 4.50 p.m. on the 10th of November, at Moradabad.

COLONEL OLCOTT: According to the best of my recollection it must have been a quarter past four when Shankar Singh first appealed to me to heal the boys, that being 35 minutes before the actual date of the memorandum.  The memorandum states that Mr. Damodar added, after repeating the message, which he had received from headquarters, that he had asked Madame Blavatsky to confirm the thing to me by sending a telegram repeating the message or its substance, either to himself or to Shankar Singh.  The next morning the expected telegram arrived.

MR. STACK: That was on November 11th?


(Colonel Olcott showed on the back of the Shankar Singh memorandum a certificate to that effect signed by nine witnesses.  He then exhibited the original telegram, which ran as follows: ---

“Class D. P.  Indian Telegraph

Local No. 64.

To (station) Moradabad.

From (station) Adyar, Madras.

words day hour minute
49 10 17 15

To (person) Damodar                                   From person,
          K. Mablaukar.                                             H. P. Blavatsky.
     Care of Colonel H. S. Olcott,
                   President Theosophical Society.

Voice from shrine
says Henry can
try parties once
leaving strongly mesmerised
Cajipatti oil rub
three times daily
to relieve suffering
Karma cannot be
interfered with Damodar
heard voice telegram
sent at his
Moradabad 1-11-83

B. Batley,
(Telegraph Master.")

(On the back of the telegram was the following: ---

“Received at Moradabad, N.W.P., at 8:45 a.m., November 11th, 1883, in our presence.

H. S. Olcott.
W. T. Brown, F.T.S.
Bhavani Shankar, F.T.S.
Parsbottam Dass.
Boolakee Das.
Permaishwari Sahai, F.T.S.
Chandra Sekhara.
Shankar Singh.
TokeNarain Swamy Naidu.”)

MR. MYERS: What is the distance between the Adyar telegraph office and the headquarters?

COLONEL OLCOTT: Adyar is a suburb of Madras, and is about three-quarters of a mile --- perhaps a trifle less --- from headquarters.

MR. MYERS: You consider, then, that the 25 minutes would be fairly occupied in finding the messenger, sending that distance, and getting the message into the telegraph office?

COLONEL OLCOTT: Yes.  You can imagine for yourself.  Our place is in the middle of a property 21 acres in extent, and Madame Blavatsky had first to write the message, then find a messenger and despatch him.  This man had to travel three-quarters of a mile, and foot travelling in India is never done very fast, because the Hindu messengers are an indolent lot, never hurrying themselves.  Then the message had to be received, registered, and get its date 5.15, the Telegraph Bureau counting time from midnight to midnight.

MR. STACK: It was practically an immediate reply?


MR. STACK: I perceive that the telegram is endorsed on the back as having been received at its destination at 8:45 the following morning.

COLONEL OLCOTT: That is accounted for by the fact that the message was a “delayed” night message.  There are three classes of messages in India, of which the deferred is the cheapest.  It goes at the half rate, and the Government send it at any time they choose during the night, and deliver it by the first postal delivery the next morning.

MR. MYERS: Of course, the important thing is the date.  How many persons were witnesses of the receipt of the Damodar message at the other end?

COLONEL OLCOTT: I have heard from the lips of Madame Blavatsky and Major-General and Mrs. Morgan.

MR. MYERS: Were they present at the time?

COLONEL OLCOTT: I do not recollect; I had so much to do then on my official tour that I did not make the particular inquiries I otherwise might.

MR. MYERS: You do not know whether Damodar was seen by Madame Blavatsky.

COLONEL OLCOTT: She told me that she had seen him.  At the headquarters resides M. Alexis Coulomb, Librarian of the Society. (2)  He was at the time of Damodar’s alleged visit engaged at some work in the room adjoining the writing bureau, where Madame Blavatsky was.  Suddenly he came into the room and asked Madame Blavatsky where Mr. Damodar was as he had heard his voice in conversation with her.

MR. MYERS: From whom did you hear this?

COLONEL OLCOTT: From M. Coulomb himself.  He said, “I have just heard his voice distinctly.”  Madame Blavatsky said, “He has not returned.”  M. Coulomb seemed surprised; he thought Mr. Damodar had unexpectedly returned, and could hardly be persuaded that he had not been in the room talking to Madame Blavatsky.

MR. STACK: Was this before Madame Blavatsky was conscious of Mr. Damodar’s presence?

COLONEL OLCOTT: She meant simply that his physical body was not there.

 MR. MYERS: We come now to the corroboration of this.  We can apply to the addresses of the several gentlemen whose names are given as witnesses.  Can we also apply to the telegraph people?

MR. STACK: We can find out whether a copy of the message is to be obtained.

MR. MYERS: You can tell us, Colonel Olcott, whether you would necessarily know if Mr. Damodar himself went to the telegraph office?

COLONEL OLCOTT: He was under my eyes continually.  He scarcely ever went out alone during the whole of our tour through Northern India.

MR. MYERS: You do not think that he could have obtained a messenger and sent out a telegram without your knowledge?

COLONEL OLCOTT: No.  Impossible.  As chief of the party there, everything went through my hands; and the local committees looked to me as the authoritative head of the whole thing.

MR. MYERS: Had Damodar seen Shankar Singh before?


MR. MYERS: And Shankar Singh was an independent gentleman, in the employ of the Government at Moradabad?

COLONEL OLCOTT: I cannot give you exactly his station now, though you can learn it from headquarters.  He is a gentleman.  He has the rank of Thakur, which I think will answer to the rank of Highland Chieftain.

MR. MYERS: You consider that complicity between him and Damodar was physically impossible?

COLONEL OLCOTT: Yes, both on account of the circumstances and of the character of Mr. Damodar, who is one of the most honourable and loyal natures I ever encountered.

MR. MYERS: But even apart from that, you think that he had no opportunity of coming into contact with Shankar Singh?

COLONEL OLCOTT: Impossible.  I will state circumstances which will show, perhaps, the little probability there was of any such conspiracy.  Notice had been put into the Theosophist some months before that I was going to make such and such official tours throughout India, and that persons who had sick friends to be treated might, within certain hours on the second day of my visit to each station, bring them to me to be healed.  Shankar Singh had written to me long before my coming to Moradabad, asking me to undertake the cure of these boys, and offering to bring them to Madras to me.  I refused to see anybody there, but told him that he could bring the boys to me when I came to Moradabad, in the course of my tour; and it was in pursuance of that authorisation that he came and importuned me so.  He said, “Here is something that you are, in a way, pledged to undertake,” and that is what made him so urgent.

MR. STACK: Now, what is Damodar’s second case?

COLONEL OLCOTT: The second case is one of a similar character.  On the night of the 17th of November, 1883 --- to wit, seven days later --- I was in the train on my way from Meerut, N.W.P., to Lahore.  Two persons were in the carriage with me --- Mr. Damodar, and another Hindu named Narain Swamy Naidu, who were asleep on their beds at either side of the saloon compartment.  I myself was reading a book by the light of the lamp.  Damodar had been moving upon his bed from time to time, showing that he was not physically asleep, as the other one was.  Presently Damodar came to me and asked what time it was.  I told him that it was a few minutes to 6 p.m.  He said, “I have just been to headquarters” --- meaning in the double --- “and an accident has happened to Madame Blavatsky.”  I inquired if it was anything serious.  He said that he could not tell me: but she had tripped her foot in the carpet, he thought, and fallen heavily upon her right knee.

MR. MYERS: Do we understand that Damodar intentionally went to Madame Blavatsky’s presence, then?

COLONEL OLCOTT: No, he went to his Master’s residence for the purpose of consulting him about something.

MR. MYERS: You speak of “his Master’s residence.”  I thought that the residence of his Master was in the Himalayas?


MR. MYERS: Oh, he went there?

COLONEL OLCOTT: Yes, he went there in the double.  In the subjective or invisible side of nature, time and space are not appreciable.  Finding his Master not at home, he followed him to Adyar, about 3,000 miles.  Adyar, as I have already explained, is a suburb of Madras city, where the headquarters of the Theosophical Society are established.

MR. MYERS: Damodar went to Adyar, still wishing to find his Master?

 COLONEL OLCOTT: Yes, and while there he saw this accident.

MR. MYERS: Did he find his Master there?

COLONEL OLCOTT: The Master had some business with Madame Blavatsky, and was there in the double.  I thereupon tore a piece of paper out of some book, and on the spot made a memorandum, which was signed by myself and the second Hindu.  (Colonel Olcott here exhibited the original memorandum marked D, and given at p. 55).  The next station reached by the train was Saharanpur, where a halt of half-an-hour for supper occurred.  I went directly to the Telegraph Office, and sent a despatch to Madame Blavatsky as near as I can remember in the following words: “What accident happened at headquarters at about 6 o’clock?  Answer to Lahore.”  I now exhibit the Government receipt for that despatch (marked E, and given at p. 56).  The next morning, on arriving at Lahore, I was taken to a camp which had been pitched for me on the plain just outside the northern wall of Lahore city.  Finding on inquiry that no telegram had come for me, I showed the memorandum D to a number of gentlemen, and on the back got them to sign the following certificate: --- “Lahore, November 18th, 1883, 9:30 a.m.  The within memorandum shown to us now.  Up to this time no telegraphic or other news of the accident has been received.”  While my party was absent from camp at breakfast, and I sat alone with a certain Mr. Ruttan Chand Bary, editor of the Arya magazine, he noticed the approach of a Government telegraph messenger, and I then volunteered to put into his hands, unopened, every telegram that might arrive for me until the one I expected from Madame Blavatsky should be received.  Accordingly, the message delivered at that moment by the messenger was put into his custody until the return of the party from breakfast, when I preferred that it should be opened in the presence of a number of witnesses.  Upon their return it was opened, as will be seen by the following endorsement, which I now produce: ---

“The within telegram, opened in our presence by Mr. R. C. Bary at 12 a.m. on the 18th of November, 1883. --- Signed,

Ram Churn.
Dass Mall.
Ruttan Chand Bary.
H. S. Olcott
Poke Narain Swamy Naidee.
Jowala Pershad.”
And two others whose names are undecipherable.

MR. MYERS: Of course the important thing here again is the date of the despatch.

COLONEL OLCOTT: It is dated the 18th of November, 1883, at 7.55 in the morning.  It is marked H, and is as follows: ---

“Class P.  Indian Telegraph   Local No. 985.

To (station) Lahore.   From (station) Adyar, Madras.

Words  day  hour  minute
  27       18    7      55

To (person) Colonel H. S. Olcott,
President Theosophical Society.
                         From (person)
                                             H. P. Blavatsky.

Nearly broke right leg, tumbling from Bishop’s chair, dragging Coulomb, frightening Morgans.  Damodoss startled us.

Lahore, 18th of November, 1883            J.U.      Telegraph Master.”

MR. MYERS: I observe that this telegram is dated 7.55 on the morning of the 18th of November.  Whereas yours was sent to headquarters on the evening of the 17th.  Can you explain the delay?  (3)

COLONEL OLCOTT: The distance I should judge to be about 2,500 miles.  The telegraph office at Adyar closes, I think, at 7 o’clock; consequently, it would be received there only on the opening of the office in the morning.

MR. MYERS: When did you send off your telegram?

COLONEL OLCOTT: It is dated 6 o’clock.  The railway time-tables will show at what time our train arrived at Saharanpur station.

MR. STACK: Damodar thought that Madame Blavatsky had tripped her foot in the carpet, whereas, in fact, she had fallen from a chair.

COLONEL OLCOTT: These details could be easily got.

MR. STACK: There is a difference between the two, and what strikes one naturally is, that if there had been an agreement to tell the story there would have been no difference.

COLONEL OLCOTT: Moreover, the presence of General and Mrs. Morgan at headquarters is confirmed by this telegram, and before that we travellers had no knowledge of their having come down from the Nilgiris. (4)

MR. MYERS: In your message you are sure that you gave no indication that Damodar had mentioned the Morgans as being present with Madame Blavatsky at the time?  (5)

COLONEL OLCOTT: Quite so.  I refer you simply to my message as dictated to you from memory.  It will not be found to differ from the actual message, except, perhaps, in some unimportant details.  If you have influence with the Government, you can get a sight of the actual message in my own handwriting, and you will then be able to see what my telegram was.

MR. MYERS: It appears to be meant by the reply telegram that Damodar had actually appeared in visible form, for it says, “Damodoss,” --- meaning, I presume, Damodar --- “startled us.”  Was that his voice or his form? (6)

COLONEL OLCOTT: I cannot tell you.  Madame Blavatsky having herself vividly seen Damodar, might have, in writing the telegram in a hurry, supposed that others present saw him.  But you can verify that fact by simply writing to the other witnesses whose names and addresses I will give: --- Major General H. R. Morgan, Ootacamund, and M. Coulomb, Adyar, Madras.

MR. MYERS: Are there any other persons, who are not adepts, with regard to whom you can give us evidence of the projection of the double?

COLONEL OLCOTT: I have seen Madame Blavatsky at a place 100 miles away from where I knew her body to be at the time.

MR. MYERS: Was anybody else present, or were you alone?

COLONEL OLCOTT: It was in one of the public streets of New York.

MR. STACK: Are we to understand that when a double appears it is as tangible as an ordinary body?

COLONEL OLCOTT: Not necessarily or ordinarily, but the sensation of solidity can be given at will, if the double is that of an adept and he wishes to make that impression upon your mind.

MR. STACK: Then there have been cases where the double has given the sensation of touch to the person to whom he appeared?


MR. STACK: Have you yourself ever actually touched a double?

COLONEL OLCOTT: Yes, but of a Mahatma.

MR. STACK: Not of an ordinary person?


MR. STACK: As to the projection of the doubles of such Mahatmas as have also been seen in the flesh, can you testify to the two parts of that --- that you knew the Mahatma as an ordinary man and on other occasions have seen his double?


MR. MYERS: In the case of one or two Mahatmas?

COLONEL OLCOTT: I could name two cases where I have encountered the person both in the physical body and in the astral body.  There are also a number of instances in my experience where I have seen the person in the astral body but not in the physical, and in the physical but not in the astral; but in two cases I can state that I have known the person in both capacities.

MR. STACK: You need not mention all, but mention the two instances close together in which you saw a man in the flesh, and a short time afterwards saw him in the astral body, and under what circumstances?

COLONEL OLCOTT: In both cases I saw them in the astral body first.

MR. MYERS: Will you mention, first, the circumstances of the apparition?

COLONEL OLCOTT: The first case I will mention is the case already reported in the pamphlet called “Hints on Esoteric Theosophy --- No. 1,” to which I refer you.  (See Appendix XV.)  In that instance the person was my Teacher, whose photograph lies on the yable here; and I now exhibit the turban which he took off his head, when I demanded of him some tangible proof of his visit.  (Turban produced.)

MR. MYERS: With regard to that visit as narrated, I wish to ask whether you have a precise recollection as to the condition of the door, whether it was shut or locked?  I wish to see on what ground you think it impossible that this was a living Hindu who left the apartment by ordinary means.

COLONEL OLCOTT: In the first place, I never saw a living Hindu before I arrived in London on my way to India.  I had had no correspondence with anybody until then, and had no knowledge of any living Hindu who could have visited me in America.

MR. MYERS: Of course, the idea of the apparition would be that it was somebody paid by Madame Blavatsky. (7)

COLONEL OLCOTT: The answer to that is that the man who visited me was instantly recognised by me from a portrait which I had in my possession --- the portrait which you see there.

MR. MYERS: But that portrait was formed under the direction, to a certain extent, of Madame Blavatsky?

COLONEL OLCOTT: She was present, as well as myself, in the room while it was being drawn, but she gave no instructions as to how it should be drawn.

MR. MYERS: Was the Hindu you saw in New York indisputably the same as you subsequently saw in India?


MR. MYERS: And whom you saw in the astral body?


MR. STACK: He suddenly appeared?

COLONEL OLCOTT: He appeared when I was in my room before retiring at night.  As it was my custom to lock my door, I presume that my door was locked at that time.  I know that the door was not opened, for I sat in such a way reading that the door could not be opened without immediately attracting my notice.

MR. MYERS: In the description which you gave you said that the door had made no noise in opening if it had been opened.  Do you consider it possible that it may have been open?  Or do I understand that you now deny that?

COLONEL OLCOTT: I used that expression so as to leave the widest possible latitude for any theory of that kind.  My own conviction is --- in fact, I should be willing to affirm most positively --- that the door did not open and that the appearance and disappearance of my visitor occurred without using the means of ingress or exit.

MR. STACK: In fact, you were in the habit of locking your door every night then?

COLONEL OLCOTT: And then we were in an “apartment house,” where the exterior door of the suite of chambers was closed with a spring latch.  Of course, everyone, in such a case, invariably locks his own door leading into the outer passage; so that a person, to get in, would have to ring the bell.

MR. MYERS: Then you conceive that there were probably two locked doors?


MR. MYERS: Although you knew that that was a needless precaution?

COLONEL OLCOTT: Not so, because in New York houses burglars get in by windows and various ways.

MR.  MYERS: Who lived in your suite of apartments besides yourself?

COLONEL OLCOTT: That was the headquarters of the Society, and Madame Blavatsky and I lived there; and during the greater part of the time there were lady or gentlemen members of the Society stopping with us as visitors.  Whether there were actually visitors in the house or not at the time I cannot remember.

 MR. STACK: Judging from your expression as to his materialising his turban, your impression is that the Hindu who presented himself to you was not material?

COLONEL OLCOTT: It would hardly be fair to say that, because I do not believe that there can be any appearance, either phantasmal or other, without the presence of matter.  It would be better to say that he was in the state of an etherealised body.

MR. STACK: The question is, is it a tangible body?

COLONEL OLCOTT: It is but faintly tangible, unless there is some special condensation of it by the will of the Mahatma.

MR. STACK: At his will he could make it tangible or intangible?

COLONEL OLCOTT: Yes, as well as in the case of so-called “materialised spirits,” of which I have seen more than 500 in my time, at the Eddy Homestead.  In that case the phantoms were sufficiently ponderable to be weighed in a weighing machine.

MR. MYERS: But Mr. Stack’s question was directed to this, whether you conceive that the rest of the phantom which appeared to you in New York was of equal solidity with the turban?

COLONEL OLCOTT: The phantom man had a phantom turban on his head, and he fully materialised the turban only by drawing to it through the current --- electric, odic, astral, ethereal, or whatever you please --- which is constantly running between the projected phantasm and the body, all the residual coarser atoms of the head cloth upon the solid body left behind.

MR. MYERS: How tall was the Hindu who appeared to you in New York?

COLONEL OLCOTT: He was a model of physical beauty, about 6ft. 6in. or 7in. in height, and symmetrically proportioned.

MR. MYERS: That is a very unusual height, and is in itself a tolerable identification.

COLONEL OLCOTT: Great stature is not so rare among the Rajpoots.

MR. MYERS: I presume that you were impressed by his height in New York?


 MR. MYERS: Have you seen other Hindus of that height?

COLONEL OLCOTT: No; I have seen very tall Hindus, for I have been through the Rajpoot country; but taking him all in all, he was the most majestic human figure I ever laid my eyes upon.

MR. STACK: Are there any cases where you and another saw the double at the same time?

COLONEL OLCOTT: You will find in “Hints on Esoteric Theosophy” a number of instances of such apparitions.  I am personally acquainted with all the witnesses, and I believe them to be, without exception, men worthy of perfect credence.

MR. MYERS: Were you yourself among the groups in several instances?


MR. MYERS: But in instances other than those recorded in the pamphlet?

COLONEL OLCOTT: At various times, when I have been addressing public audiences, I have seen one or more of these Mahatmas in the audience, and other persons present have seen them.

MR. STACK: When the other persons present see them, is the perception similar to that reported of clairvoyants, that they have a special power? or is it that the Mahatmas make themselves visible to certain persons and not to others?

COLONEL OLCOTT: Speaking of appearances of that kind in a large audience, it would be impossible for me to say how many persons saw them.  My own opinion is that the perception was absolutely of the ordinary kind, and not clairvoyant, although in some cases I know of clairvoyant perception of Mahatmas having been had without other persons present seeing them.

MR. MYERS: When one of the Mahatmas appeared at the Theosophical Society’s London meeting the other day he was very visible to some few persons and not at all to others.

COLONEL OLCOTT: Yes.  To four persons only.

MR. MYERS: We want now an account of seeing your Teacher in the flesh.

 COLONEL OLCOTT: One day at Bombay I was at work in my office when a Hindu servant came and told me that a gentleman wanted to see me in Madame Blavatsky’s bungalow --- a separate house within the same enclosure as the main building.  This was one day in 1879.  I went and found alone there my Teacher.  Madame Blavatsky was then engaged in animated conversation with other persons in the other bungalow.  The interview between the Teacher and myself lasted perhaps 10 minutes, and it related to matters of a private nature with respect to myself and certain current events in the history of the Society.  (See Appendix X.)

MR. MYERS: How do you know that your Teacher was in actual flesh and blood on that occasion?

COLONEL OLCOTT: He put his hand upon my head, and his hand was perfectly substantial; and he had altogether the appearance of an ordinary living person.  When he walked about the floor there was noise of his footsteps, which is not the case with the double or phantasm.

MR. MYERS: Do you conceive that he had travelled to Bombay in the ordinary way?

COLONEL OLCOTT: He was then stopping at a bungalow, not far from Bombay, belonging to a person connected with this brotherhood of the Mahatmas, and used by Mahatmas who may be passing through Bombay on business connected with their order.  He came to our place on horseback.

MR. STACK: Was he on that occasion dressed the same as in New York?

COLONEL OLCOTT: Yes.  They wear ordinarily, when away from Thibet, a dress of white cotton --- in fact, that is the common dress of Hindus.

MR. MYERS: Was that the only occasion on which you have seen him in the flesh?

COLONEL OLCOTT: No; I have seen him at other times.

MR. MYERS: Have you seen him three or four times in the flesh?

COLONEL OLCOTT: Yes, more than that, but not under circumstances where it would be evidence to others.

MR. MYERS: And about how many times in the astral body?

COLONEL OLCOTT: Oh, at least 15 or 20 times.

MR. MYERS: And his appearance on all those occasions has been quite unmistakable?

COLONEL OLCOTT: As unmistakable as the appearance of either of you gentlemen.

MR. MYERS: Generally, when you have seen him in the astral body you have been alone?

COLONEL OLCOTT: Not always.  I have seen him in the presence of other people.  But the others, except in the instances recorded in the pamphlet, have not seen him at the same time, and therefore my testimony would have to stand without corroboration.

MR. STACK: Has he appeared in the flesh to more than one person at a time?

COLONEL OLCOTT: No; save to the servant and myself at Bombay.

MR. STACK: He never attended a meeting of your Society, or anything in that way, in the flesh?

COLONEL OLCOTT: No.  There are reasons why that should be so, because a man who has developed himself into the state of a Mahatma is peculiarly sensitive to what you call the mesmeric influence of all persons with whom he comes into contact.  It is a fact that every human being is giving out an influence which is perfectly perceptible and recognisable, not only by Mahatmas, but by many sensitive persons among you who are not able at all to define their sensation in any way.  The old lines ---

“I do not like you, Dr. Fell.
The reason why I cannot tell,
Only this I know full well.
I do not like you, Dr. Fell” ---

indicate a case in point.  These attractions and repulsions we all feel, and the whole theory of the mesmeric healing of the sick rests upon the fact that a certain influence can be imparted from one person to another.  Therefore, these men cannot exist in the atmosphere of ordinary society, without taking special precautions, any more than a diver can go to the bottom of the water except with his diving-dress and a communication with the upper air.

MR. STACK: State, if you please, the other instances of your meeting a Mahatma in the physical body.

COLONEL OLCOTT: I have seen Mahatma Koot Hoomi in the body.  While at Lahore I received from the Mahatma Koot Hoomi, through one of his associates --- a former pupil --- an intimation that he would visit me in the body.  On the second night of my stay, I was awakened while asleep in my tent by someone putting his hands upon me.  In the instant of awaking, having a vague impression that this might be an intruder, I seized him with both hands, at the same time asking him in Hindustanee who he was.  He replied, “Do you not remember me?”  The tone of the voice immediately recalled the Mahatma Koot Hoomi, and it then flashed across my memory that I was to have been visited by him.  In the next moment I was in full consciousness, and let go my hold of him, slipping my hands down the whole length of his arms to his hands, having first caught him by the shoulders.  So I felt the substance of his arms all the way down.  A brief colloquy ensued, and he then, as I lay in bed, took my left hand, and placing the fingers of his right hand into contact with my palm, I felt growing up, as it were, some substance underneath his fingers.  In another moment he closed my hands upon this substance, said something more to me, bade me “Good-night,” and went out of the tent.  I then got up, and, going to the light burning in the tent, found that what he had left me was a small package enveloped in Chinese silk.  On opening the package, I found within a letter in a Chinese envelope to my address.  (Colonel Olcott here exhibited the package.)  The note is of a personal character, and need not be printed; but I will allow you gentlemen to read it.  The handwriting of the communication is identical with that of the many communications received at various times by Mr. A. P. Sinnett and many other persons.

MR. MYERS: This letter was received without the intervention of Madame Blavatsky? (8)

COLONEL OLCOTT: Madame Blavatsky was at Madras at that time, a distance of perhaps 2,500 or 3,000 miles. (9)

MR. MYERS: The light in the tent was sufficient to allow you to distinctly recognise the features of your visitor?


MR. MYERS: Whom you had seen in the astral body?

COLONEL OLCOTT: Yes, and whose portrait, phenomenally produced for Mr. Sinnett, by Madame Blavatsky at Allahabad, would give any one an accurate idea of his personal appearance.  I am prepared to affirm that his hand was absolutely empty when he placed it in my palm, and that this packet was formed --- or, to use a current phrased, materialised --- upon my own hand.

MR. MYERS: Of course, people would say that conjurers would slip these things down their sleeves.

COLONEL OLCOTT: Yes, but that was not possible in this case.  The sleeves worn by Asiatic people are very large and flowing, not tight like ours.  It is important that I should mention that this communication contains a prophecy of the death of two public characters in India, who did actually die.

MR. MYERS: We can extract a passage from the letter?

COLONEL OLCOTT: You may if you like.

MR. STACK: Are there any other instances in the experience of the Society of letters having been transmitted, say, from Europe to India, or from India to Europe --- actual letters, not mere impressions?

COLONEL OLCOTT: Well, the other day, when coming from Paris to London, via Calais, I was in the railway carriage with Mr. Mohini, a Brahmin gentleman, now in Paris.  I was reading a passage in a letter from a London gentleman to myself, which spoke of Mahatmas under their Chinese designation; and at that instant a letter, exactly similar to the other as regards the envelope, dropped from the ceiling of the carriage.  Here is the letter (showing it), but it is too private to be put into the record verbatim.

MR. STACK: Were you and Mr. Mohini alone in the carriage?


MR. STACK: Were the windows closed?

COLONEL OLCOTT: Yes, but that is not material, because it was an express train going at high speed.

MR. STACK: You suppose that Mahatma Koot Hoomi sent that letter direct from India to the railway carriage?

COLONEL OLCOTT: Yes, considering that he was in India or somewhere in Asia, and I was in the train in France.

(The letter, which was privately read by Mr. Stack and Mr. Myers, was found to contain distinct allusion to a conversation between the writer, Koot Hoomi, and Colonel Olcott at Lahore, explained to be a conversation on the night subsequent to the one already referred to, when the materialised letter was put into Colonel Olcott’s hand.  On the second occasion, Colonel Olcott explained, the interview was of about half-an-hour’s duration, Mahatma Koot Hoomi being in the flesh.)

MR. STACK: What is the explanation of the Theosophical Society as to the power of Mahatmas to transmit letters instantaneously from India to Europe in this way?

COLONEL OLCOTT: As Mahatmas do not work by miracle, but strictly according to natural law, it is necessary for them to have at this end of the line some person with whom they can establish a direct astral current.  A medium of a certain sort would furnish that requirement if none other person were available.

MR. MYERS: Could they send a letter to you or Mr. Mohini in the same way, not only in a railway carriage but at a meeting of the Society for Psychical Research?

COLONEL OLCOTT: That I could not answer.  I should think it doubtful; for just as the attraction of the masts of an iron steamship will cause the needle to deflect, and require a certain circle of magnets around it so as to neutralise the effects of the iron, so without favouring polaric conditions a phenomena of this kind could not occur in the presence of persons not already in relation with Mahatmas, especially where the parties may be unfamiliar with the laws of psychic attraction and repulsion, and be prejudiced by their education against them to such an extent as to have rendered their “psychic aura” positively repellent.

MR. MYERS: You need not dwell upon that.  We understand that difficulty.  But we are asking whether it could not be done in the presence of this Committee?

COLONEL OLCOTT: I stated that I could not answer.  It could not be done by me, because my training has not gone to that length that I could furnish perfect means of communication.

MR. MYERS: Mr. Mohini would need to be there?

COLONEL OLCOTT: Mr. Mohini and myself might not furnish the attraction, but if it were a question of Madame Blavatsky I would say distinctly yes.  If her health was in a proper condition, she could produce something of that kind here just as well as in New York, at Simla, Madras, Odessa or elsewhere, as she has in the past.

MR. MYERS: Will you try to persuade her to do so; (10) not in the presence of a large and hostile audience, but simply for the satisfaction of the Committee, to whom you have offered the investigation?

COLONEL OLCOTT: I will second any application made by the Committee to Madame Blavatsky.

MR. STACK: I think, Mr. Myers, you are asking for conditions that are not necessary.  It would be perfectly possible for a Mahatma to communication with a person alone in India, most confidentially?

COLONEL OLCOTT: If you look at “Hints on Esoteric Theosophy” you will find there a certificate by Professor J. Smith, of Sydney University, to the effect that he opened three letters from three distant points, all delivered simultaneously on a certain day by a carrier, and that he found, in each of these, writing in the handwriting of my Teacher.  (See Appendix XXVI.)

MR. STACK: To have the official stamp of the Bombay Post Office and the official stamp of the London Post Office of the same date on one letter is, of course, impossible by ordinary means, but according to the power of the Mahatmas it is possible.  Why should not a Mahatma achieve a phenomena, which is so easy for him, and which would be so satisfactory to us?

COLONEL OLCOTT: In one of the certificates in the pamphlet I have alluded to, it is stated that a letter was delivered at Bombay bearing the post-mark of Allahabad of the same date, the two places being about 1,000 miles apart.  (See Appendix XXVIII.)  What has been done once may be done again if the conditions are favourable, and the Mahatmas are pleased to exercise their powers.

The Committee then separated.

Notes and remarks on the Psychical Research Society’s Meeting on May 11th, 1884.

N.B. --- The shorthand writer’s report was sent to Colonel Olcott to revise, and Madame Blavatsky added a few notes.

I. (See p. 2 of MS.)  Why not get information about Damodar’s affair from the proper authorities at Bombay.  His voluntary renouncement of all his fortune is on record.  His family is known as well as his antecedents.  A man does not renounce wealth, family ties, all in this world, for the pleasure of becoming the partner of a swindling society, and in four years he had time to find out whether the Mahatmas, Society, Founders and all are one big fraud.

II. (From p. 2 to 14.)  Why not write to some trustworthy, unprejudiced person in India to exam[in]e all these telegrams, original messages, and even search in the Records of those dates other telegrams from Damodar and myself.  I give full permission to do so.  I shall be very glad --- as glad as in the case of Mahatma K.H.’s telegram from Jhelum --- to give an opportunity to finally settle all such questions of conspiracy --- for, indeed, it does become rather monotonous.


 On p. 26 of MS., it is not mentioned by Colonel Olcott that at the time he saw Master’s double, his own sister, Mrs. Mitchell, was living there.  And he also forgot to say that several persons at Gringaum saw the horse of the Mahatma and himself when he left on another evening. --- H.P.B.


Copies of documents referred to in Colonel Olcott’s evidence, but not given in their order there.



Received by D.K.M. and delivered to Colonel Olcott at Moradabad at 4.50 p.m., 10th November, 1883.

“Henry can try the parties once, leaving strongly mesmerised.  Cajapati oil to rub in three times daily to relieve sufferers.  Karma cannot be interfered with.”

D.K.M. at the same time told us that he had received this message through the shrine at Adyar (headquarters) a few moments before, he having gone there in the Sukshma Sharira at the request of Shankar Singh to ask whether Colonel Olcott would be permitted to treat mesmerically two children in whom Shankar Singh was interested.  He said that he had also asked Madame Blavatsky to give Colonel Olcott a confirmation of his visit, and the order received through the shrine from Colonel Olcott’s Gura by sending a telegram to him, D.K.M. or Shankar Singh, repeating its substance or literal words.

Shankar Singh.
Bhavani Sankar.
W. T. Brown.
Purmeshri Dass.
Parshotham Dass.
Ishri Prasad.
Narcottam Dass.
L. V. V. Naidu.
Chiranjee Lall.
H. S. Olcott.
Toke Narainaswamy Naidu.
Pran Nath Pandit.

The telegram mentioned by D.K.M. has just been received (8.45 a.m., November 11th) as a deferred or night message of 34 words, in which the above exact words are repeated.  Madame Blavatsky says, “Voice from shrine” spoke the words, and adds that D.K.M. heard the voice, and the telegram is sent at his request.

Ishri Prasad.
W. T. Brown, F.T.S.
H. S. Olcott.
Bhavani Sankar.
Purashotham Dass.
Chandra Sekhara.
Toke Narainaswamy Naidu.
L. Venkata Varadarajulu Naidu.
Shankar Singh.


In train at Nagul Station, S.P. and D. Railway, at 5.55 p.m., 17/11/83.  D. K. M. says he has just been (in Sukshina Sarira) to headquarters.  H. P. B. has just tripped in carpet and hurt right knee. (12)  Had just taken K. H.’s portrait from shrine.  Heard her mention names of General and Mrs. Morgan.  Thinks they are there.  Saw nobody but H. P. B., but felt several others.

H. S. O.
Toke Maraina Sawney Naida.


On the back of the last paper, and marked F., is the following: ---

“Lahore, 19/11/83, 9.30 a.m.  The within memorandum shown to us now.  Up to this time no telegraphic or other news of the accident has been received.

Govind Sahay.

Shown to us at 11.15.  News not yet known.

Ruttun Chand Bary.
Ram Chund Bary.
Dass Mull."


S.P.L. No. 1 Tele.
L.S.C. No. 16 Tele.

Voucher for Sender.
No. 54.
Class        No.       Station to
P          82           Adyar


9 words 

(Signature) . 



Saw Doss 
S. Pur

Ordinary private. 
Rs  As 
1  2
1  2 

Date 17/11/83. 
Rupees one and 
annas two only.” 


(This appears on the back of the telegram --- marked H., and given in report of the conversation --- from Madame Blavatsky to Colonel Olcott, and stating: ---

“Nearly broke right leg, tumbling from bishop’s chair, dragging Coulomb, frightening Morgans.  Damadass startled us).

“The within telegram opened in our presence by Mr. R. C. Bary, at 12m. on the 18/11/83.

Ram Churn. 
Dass Mall. 
Rutlan Chand Bary, 
H. S. Olcott. 
Toke Marain Sawmy Naida. 

Jowala Pershad,” 
and two others.


Meeting on May 27th, 1884.

Present J. Herbert Stack, Esq., 
Edmund Gurney, Esq., 
Frank Podmore, Esq., 
F. W. H. Myers, Esq., 
Colonel H. S. Olcott.

MR. GURNEY: Let us begin our examination to-day with the subject of handwriting phenomenally conveyed in closed letters or telegrams and brought through the ordinary post.

*                 *                 *                 *

COLONEL OLCOTT: Cases of writing inside of enclosed letters, and of the substitution of another letter inside of a closed envelope, for the writer’s letter, which has been abstracted without any destruction of the envelope, have occurred even since we left India.

MR. STACK: How are letters in India usually fastened up?

COLONEL OLCOTT: With adhesive envelopes.

MR. STACK: Not with wax?

COLONEL OLCOTT: Oh, wax is sometimes used.

MR. STACK: I thought that wax did not suit in India?

COLONEL OLCOTT: It does not, but it is the case that registered letters are always sealed in five places.  You will remember that in the statement by Professor Smith, in the letter which I showed you and Mr. Crookes, he there says that a letter addressed by him to this same Mahatma, and sent enclosed in a letter to Madame Blavatsky, and which was sewed through and through many times, with silk of different colours, had been removed, and another paper substituted inside without the threads having been broken.  That has not been published,  (13) but I can give you, if you wish it, a copy of the letter from Professor Smith, who is Professor of Chemistry and of Applied Science at Sydney University.

MR. STACK: You might, if possible, select some strong case, which can be corroborated by two witnesses, of a letter having been abnormally delivered through the air or in any other way.

COLONEL OLCOTT: I think I mentioned to you at my last examination about the letter which was delivered to me in the railway carriage while I was on my way from Paris to London, via Calais.  There is Mr. Mohini to corroborate that.  Then there is the letter which Professor Smith tells about in “Hints on Esoteric Theosophy.”  I will mention one more case out of a great many that occur in my mind.  In the year 1882, Madame Blavatsky and I were the guests of the Hon. Maharajah Sir Jolindra Moham Tagore, a member of the Vice-Regal Council at Calcutta. On the occasion I am now about to refer to, there were present, besides Madame Blavatsky and myself, Baboo Norendra Nath Sen, editor of the Indian Mirror, and one of the best known of native publicists; Baboo Mohini, and the late Baboo Peary Chand Mittra, a Bengalee writer and philosopher.  A question arose as to the time of my departure from Calcutta.  I had arranged a certain date, but was importuned to postpone it.  I replied that I had received no instructions from my Guru to the contrary, and should certainly adhere to my programme.  We were sitting in a small room, separated from a larger one by a wooden screen partition, perhaps 8ft. in height, with a door in it.  Madame Blavatsky requested Mohini to look outside the screen, to see if anyone was in the room.  He did so, and reported that there was no one upon that floor.  No sooner had he taken his seat again in our group than, with a whizzing sound, a letter darted almost horizontally across the room from a point just above where the wooden screen was morticed into the wall of the building, and fell at our feet.  On its being opened it was found to contain a distinct order from my Guru that I should stop at Calcutta, (14) as requested.  All the people who were present can corroborate my statement.

MR. STACK: All saw the letter?


MR. STACK: Is Baboo Norendra a Theosophist?


MR. GURNEY: Was he then?

COLONEL OLCOTT: I think not.  He is one of the best known men in India.

MR. PODMORE: Did the letter seem to come from the wall?

COLONEL OLCOTT: It appeared to me so.  I saw the letter as it was in projection.

MR. PODMORE: Do you think that Madame Blavatsky knew it was coming?

COLONEL OLCOTT: Certainly.  Whenever anything is coming she feels the power, just as whenever there is a thunderstorm she can feel a change in her system.  I can tell you another case where there were more than a dozen witnesses.  The Council of the Theosophical Society, or at least those members of it who were within easy reach of Bombay, had met at the Bombay headquarters, I think in the year 1882, and were discussing a certain matter in a room in one of the three bungalows which constituted our headquarters.  This room had no hangings; there was nothing about to interfere with a full sight of the whole place --- the walls and the ceiling.  A question came up as to whether it was the pleasure of the Mahatmas that a certain recommended course of action should be taken by the Council, and a gentleman named J. S. Gadgill, judge of the Varishta Court of Baroda State, and a man of the highest character, remarked that he thought that if the Mahatmas really wished the thing done now would be the opportunity for them to signify it by some means.  One of those present suddenly called attention to a collection of vapour that had that instant appeared in the air up towards the corner of the room; and all present, looking, saw this take the form of a letter, which fell upon a spot not beneath perpendicularly, but, if I remember aright, obliquely.  The document was addressed, I think, generally to the members of the Council, and on being opened it was found to contain a message, in the handwriting of my Guru and signed with his cryptograph, stating that it was his desire that the proposed measure should be adopted.  Judge Gadgill, and one or two others, knowing that they had to deal with some very difficult sceptics at Baroda, who would demand if they had taken the precaution to examine the premises and see if the letter could have been delivered by any mechanical device, thereupon made a search of the place, and even got a ladder and went upon the tiled roof.  He will tell you that the examination made then, and a subsequent and more careful one, which was made in my own presence and with my assistance --- for I held the ladder --- left no ground for suspicion of bad faith.  Another class of very striking phenomena is that which occurs in the hanging cabinet at headquarters called the Shrine, where letters are written by parties addressed to the Mahatmas, put into a silver bowl which is inside the cabinet, and on the door being closed and re-opened, sometimes instantaneously, the letter deposited is found to have disappeared and the answer to it to have taken its place.

MR. GURNEY: That you have seen?

COLONEL OLCOTT: Yes, again and again.  It has been seen by many persons at headquarters, and even since we have left India.

MR. GURNEY: That has happened without Madame Blavatsky’s presence?

COLONEL OLCOTT: It has happened since we have been in Europe many times.

MR. GURNEY: For that there are many witnesses?


MR. GURNEY: How many --- about?

COLONEL OLCOTT: Forty, I should think.

MR. PODMORE: You say that the answer sometimes appears almost immediately?

COLONEL OLCOTT: Yes. Sometimes the answer comes back in the man’s, own envelope.  The name of the Mahatma is erased from the envelopes and the name of the party asking the question is substituted for it.  Sometimes when he opens the letter he finds that his has departed and another taken its place.

MR. PODMORE: Are the answers of great length?

COLONEL OLCOTT: Sometimes.  At one time when an experiment was made it took the man 20 minutes to write the reply addressed to him.

MR. PODMORE: And within what interval did the answer come?

 COLONEL OLCOTT: Instantaneously.

*                *                 *                 *

MR. GURNEY: Now let us turn to the precipitation of handwriting.

COLONEL OLCOTT: There was a case that occurred in a native Indian State, in the presence of the judge of the court previously mentioned, and the Assistant Prime Minister, and I myself saw a portion of the phenomenon.  Madame Blavatsky had told these gentlemen, in a discussion on the conservation of energy and the correlation of forces, that there is no more waste of once evoluted intellectual energy than there is of matter; that the akasa is a perpetual storehouse of ideas, as well as of images of once-existing forms; and that a person who knows occult dynamics can bring out of the akasa, not only the sounds of spoken language, but also the symbols of writing.  As they asked for an illustration, and she was then in a proper state of health, she took a sheet of notepaper, and asked them to observe it well, so that they would know it again.  She then requested them to select some person who was least of all likely to have been in correspondence with her or myself.  They named a gentleman who was known to have a bitter hostility to us and our Society, and whom we only knew by name.  She then stepped to the centre of the room, and asked the two witnesses to turn her slowly about until she should face in that direction of the compass where this gentleman had passed most of his time.  When they had done so, she asked them to retire from her so far as the door of the room.  At that moment I came upstairs, and they told me what was going on.  A minute had scarcely elapsed before she came towards us, holding the sheet of notepaper in her hand, and laughing.  The Hindu gentleman seemed very greatly surprised on reading its contents, for, although in the very handwriting of the party named by them, it was a friendly note to myself, humorously apologising for his unwarranted hostility to us and our cause.  Both these gentlemen assured me that it was the very writing of the person named.  The name I will give you, though not for publication.

MR. PODMORE: Do you think that the matter of that letter came from Madame Blavatsky’s brain?


MR. PODMORE: She had never seen the handwriting before?

COLONEL OLCOTT: Never.  That gives you a curious idea of what the resources of this occult science are.

MR. MYERS: Do I understand that there was a case of the precipitation of a picture by Madame Blavatsky in New York, which was afterwards recognised as being of somebody the artist had never seen?

COLONEL OLCOTT: There was a portrait drawn by a gentleman who had never seen a Hindu, but who had some artistic talent, and was asked to sit down and make a drawing of an ideal Hindu head.  The materials were not in the house, and as there was a shop close by I went out myself and got some paper and crayons . . . . When I had returned with the paper the gentleman sat down and went to work.  Madame Blavatsky and I engaged in conversation.  The gentleman worked quietly on, and at last produced a picture of which I have shown you a photograph.  That, although not a drawing of high class, is a striking portrait of my Guru.

MR. MYERS: As you can vouch from personal knowledge, I suppose?

COLONEL OLCOTT: And also from the corroborative testimony of several people who know him personally, and who have seen this portrait.  Persons have actually recognised him after they have seen the portrait, by the portrait.

MR. MYERS: Can you tell us of any who have done so?

COLONEL OLCOTT: Damodar is one, and Ramaswamier another.

MR. MYERS: Those persons recognised him?  On what occasion?

COLONEL OLCOTT: The case of Ramaswamier was a beautiful one of cumulative identification.  First, he saw the portrait, which hangs in my room, at headquarters.  Next he saw the Mahatma in the double, by moonlight, on a balcony at the Bombay headquarters.  (See Appendix XIII.)  Finally, he met him in the flesh at Sikkim, at about noonday, held a long conversation with him about the Theosophical Society, and received from him various messages to individuals.  (See Appendix XI.)  He was also instructed to give me a certain password, which had been agreed upon between himself and myself, to be used for the purpose of identifying any communication alleged to come from him.

MR. MYERS: Have you since found the password to have been used by the Guru?


MR. MYERS: Who is the artist who took this portrait in New York?

COLONEL OLCOTT: He is a private gentleman, whose name I do not wish to bring into this matter.  There is a power about the portrait which makes it distinctive.  It is as marked a portrait as any that hangs in the Royal Academy.

MR. MYERS: Do you think that the artist experienced any peculiar sensation when he was drawing it?

COLONEL OLCOTT: Not the slightest.

MR. MYERS: Has he become a Theosophist?

COLONEL OLCOTT: Yes, but he occupies an official position, in which it is not desirable that he should be recognised as belonging to our Society.

MR. MYERS: Can you tell us of any case where the mind of other persons has been influenced by a person possessing occult power?

COLONEL OLCOTT: I cannot think at the moment of any instance that would be valuable for your purpose, although I have a great deal of knowledge as to impressions from one mind to another without any suspicion on the part of the impressed mind that the action was going on.  Not only in my own case, but in that of others have I known that to be so.  I have known whole articles to be written by a person who supposed that he himself only was engaged in the composition, when in reality the whole thing was put into his mind by an outside influence --- a Mahatma.  I may say generally that this power of impressing ideas upon the minds of others is enjoyed by proficients in occult science, and that when properly exercised the agency can never be detected.  It will appear to the subject of the experiment that his own mind has been at work without the slightest control.

MR. STACK: Then it would be impossible to establish a case?

MR. MYERS: Unless the inspirer had previously informed someone else of the article he was going to inspire.

COLONEL OLCOTT: If you were to call the subject of such an experiment he would be ready to take his oath that his mind had received no impression from that of anybody else.

The Committee then separated.



(1)  Maha-atma, a great soul.

(2)  We feel bound to state that at the time when Colonel Olcott gave us this evidence, he was aware that Coulomb (who has since been dismissed from his post) had been charged with making trap-doors for trick manifestations.  In saying this, however, we do not in the least mean to imply that Colonel Olcott had any wish to mislead us.

(3)  Colonel Olcott’s telegram was received by me about one o’clock a.m. that night, when I was in bed, and the whole house asleep.  It is easy to verify the hour when it was received at, and sent by, the telegraph master to Adyar.  I was not going to get up to write an answer in the night. --- H. P. Blavatsky.

(4)  They had just arrived from Nilgherry Hills. ---- H. P. Blavatsky.

(5)  Let the original message from Colonel Olcott be read at the telegraph office.  There was a time covering two years that the Government of India read all the messages to and from me.  Cannot that which is done for purposes of police spying be now done for science? --- H.P.B.

(6)  I heard his voice only; but Madame Coulomb saw his form and screamed out his name, letting the chair go that she was holding while I stood on it, cleaning Master’s portrait in the shrine.  It was the chair that was unsteady on the thick carpet and, theefore, made me lose my balance. --- H.P.B.

(7) Madame Blavatsky having renounced her own fortune, her prospects of fortune as well as position --- for the Cause of Truth --- never had money enough to bribe a beggar. --- H. P. Blavatsky.

(8) Why not write and ask St. G. Lane Fox, now at Adyar, Dr. Hartmann, Mr. Brown, and others?  Do they or do they not receive letters in the same handwriting? ----H.P.B.

(9)  Madame Blavatsky is now here in Paris, and at Adyar, Madras, people go on receiving letters and answers from Mahatma K.H. in his own handwriting.  The Board of Trustees having come to a wrong and very sudden decision, a letter was received from the Mahatma chiding them. --- H.P.B.

(10)  No one could persuade me to do so, unless Master commanded me to sacrifice myself once more. --- H. P. Blavatsky.

(11)  See Theosophist, No. 51, p. 88.

(12)  From which she is suffering to this day, the bruise having become a dangerous inner wound under the knee-cap, as two French surgeons can testify. --- H. P. Blavatsky.

(13)  Since the report of this examination was submitted to me for review, I have learned that this circumstance has been published in a recent edition of Mr. Hume’s “Hints on Esoteric Theosophy.” --- H. S. O.

(14)  The whole circumstance was published in the Indian Mirror, about that date, April, 1882, and I refer the curious to it for corroboration of the facts. ---- H. S. O.