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Theos-World Now Published on the WWW: Obituary: The "Hodgson Report" on Madame Blavatsky by Walter A. Carrithers, Jr.

Dec 03, 1999 06:41 AM
by D.Caldwell/M.Graye

OBITUARY: The "Hodgson Report" on
Madame Blavatsky by Walter A. Carrithers, Jr.

has been published on the world wide web
by The Blavatsky Foundation

The first (1963) edition of this work was
published under Mr. Carrither's pseudonym
Adlai E. Waterman by The Theosophical
Publishing House, Adyar, Madras, India.

This online edition has a new preface
by Leslie Price, founder of THEOSOPHICAL HISTORY
and a current associate editor of that journal.

"Obituary" deals not only with Richard Hodgson's contentions
about the Mahatma and Coulomb letters but also
analyzes Hodgson's statements about the "Shrine"
and the various occult  phenomena performed by
Madame Blavatsky and the Mahatmas.

To truly appreciate Mr. Carrither's insights, one needs to
have in hand both the Hodgson's Report and Madame Coulomb's
pamphlet as one reads through "Obituary."

In his Introduction to "Obituary", Walter Carrithers gave a summary of his
to the subject matter in the following words:

"Faced with these difficulties, and the additional fact that the "destroyer"
of Mme. Blavatsky was Dr. Richard Hodgson who is recognized as, perhaps,
"the greatest" psychical researcher of "the Golden Age of Psychical Research
in England",  any would be apologist for H.P.B. cannot fall back on
philosophical exposition in lieu of specific well-supported replies to what
skeptics may bring in guise of concrete disproof and verified accusation
against her.  That kind of reaction may appeal to a certain type of mind
which can voluntarily blind itself to unpleasant short-comings while taking
refuge in philosophic abstractions.  But such retreat is no substitute for
knowledge and courage - or for whatever gratitude the followers of Mme.
Blavatsky think they owe to their great Teacher.  Neither is it the kind of
answer the world respects or that Science demands.  What is required in a
situation such as this are facts - incontrovertible facts founded on
testimony which incredulous critics cannot assail, the testimony not of
H.P.B. and her witnesses but of the principal prosecutor [Richard Hodgson]
and his chief witnesses [Emma and Alexis Coulomb].  Nothing less than this
ever satisfied the present writer, nor does he expect the reader to be
content with anything else.  The commonplace facts of everyday experience
seem too much against the possibility of real Magic and genuine occult or
psychic phenomena to permit modern man to rely on less."

"It is safe to calculate that for every ten thousand persons who have heard
and believe that Richard Hodgson "exposed" H.P. Blavatsky as a fraud and
imposter, not more than one has read his "expose;" and, that for every
thousand of his readers, hardly one has ever seen Emma Coulomb's pamphlet.
And yet, by logic and every rule of common sense, the latter document takes
precedence over all others in standing at the very heart of the controversy
raised by the Coulombs, comprising as it does the firsthand unadulterated
testimony of the chief accusers, together with documentary "proofs" adduced
for their claims.  Yet, strange to say, practically no attention was paid to
this priceless pamphlet - least of all by indignant Theosophists who put no
stock in what Mme. Coulomb might have to say! -, not until, that is, the
appearance in 1937 of Mrs. Hastings' booklet, Defence of Madame Blavatsky
(Volume II) The "Coulomb Pamphlet".  Unfortunately, Mrs. Hastings did not
live to complete her promising study of the case."

"Particularly noteworthy is the fact that Dr. Hodgson himself seems to have
had very great reluctance to make, by quotation, any use whatsoever of Mme.
Coulomb's printed (prior) explanations.  The reason for this odd behavior on
his part, with respect to the testimony of his chief witness, becomes
readily apparent once we examine the major charges brought against Mme.
Blavatsky by Dr. Hodgson, and now, for the first time, compare his
allegations detail-by-detail against original, earlier-published claims of
Mme. Coulomb herself."

Quoted from Obituary: The "Hodgson Report" on
Madame Blavatsky by Walter A. Carrithers, Jr.


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