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Part II: Brigitte Muehlegger on Henry Olcott and the Theosophical Masters

Nov 03, 2001 10:00 AM
by Blavatsky Archives

Part II: Brigitte Muehlegger on Henry Olcott and the Theosophical 
[Continued from Part I which can be read at: ]

(8) Having read the material found in Items 1-7 and wondering why
Brigitte did not deal directly with Olcott's statement about HPB
prostrating herself to the Master, I wrote the following on Oct. 21st:

"Below is an EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT by Henry S. Olcott concerning HPB
dropping to her knees and paying reverence to a Master."


" 'This same Brother once visited me in the flesh at Bombay,
coming in full day light, and on horseback. He had me called
by a servant into the front room of H.P.B.'s bungalow
(she being at the time in the other bungalow talking with those
who were there). He [Morya] came to scold me roundly
for something I had done in T.S. matters, and as H.P.B. was
also to blame, he telegraphed to her to come, that is to say,
he turned his face and extended his finger in the direction of
the place she was in. She came over at once with a rush,
and seeing him dropped to her knees and paid him reverence.
My voice and his had been heard by those in the other
bungalow, but only H.P.B. and I, and the servant saw him.'
(Extract from a letter written by Colonel Olcott to A.O. Hume
on Sept. 30, 1881. Quoted in Hints On Esoteric Theosophy,
No. 1, 1882, p. 80.)"

" '[I] had visit in body of the Sahib [Morya]!! [He] sent Babula
to my room to call me to H.P.B.'s bungalow, and there we had
a most important private interview....' (Extract from Olcott's
handwritten diary for Tuesday, July 15, 1879.)"

The above quoted from:

(9) In a followup post I wrote to Brigitte:

"Resurrecting a previous discussion [between Paul Johnson and me]
would serve no useful purpose in the present discussion which concerns
YOUR statements relevant to HPB dropping on her knees and paying
reverence to a master."

"In other words, there is an eyewitness account which contradicts what
you have currently written on the subject."

The above quoted from:

(10) Finally, on October 26th, Brigitte decided to deal directly with
Olcott's account. She wrote in part:

". . . Marina found out I didn't want to take Olcott's letter to a
prospective convert on face value."

"Who could, after reading [Olcott's] 'People of the other world' and
finding out what this man was all capable of believing."

"And unfortunately for Olcott Blavatsky did't either, she clearly
wrote about Olcott's Master fantasies to Hartmann: 'Where you speek
of the army of deluded-and the imaginary Mahatmas of Olcott-you are
absolutly and sadly right. Have I not strugled and fought against
Olcott's ardent and gushing imagination, and tried to stop him every
day of my life?' (Blavatsky,"The Path" March 1896,p.368)"

The above quoted from:
[Brigitte's original text has some question marks where there should
be apostrophes. I corrected those for readability in the above

(11) I would now like to look in some detail at what Brigitte has
written in Item (10) above and also in Item (6)in Part I.

Brigitte wrote:

". . . Marina found out I didn't want to take Olcott's letter to a
prospective convert on face value."

I would be interested to know how Marina exactly "found out"
Brigitte's opinion about Olcott's letter.

Anyway, it is now helpful to know that Brigitte does not accept what
Olcott said at face value. But she doesn't tell us exactly what part
of the letter she doesn't accept at face value. Nor does she inform us
of exactly what she means by "face value." Of course, I can hazard a
guess at what she is trying to convey.

When Olcott wrote that "She [HPB] came over at once with a rush, and
seeing him [Master Morya]dropped to her knees and paid him
reverence," does this mean Brigitte doesn't believe HPB dropped to her
knees? Was Olcott making this up or imagining this behavior of HPB?

Notice that Olcott also relates that the Master "had me called by a
servant into the front room of H.P.B.'s bungalow (she being at the
time in the other bungalow talking with those who were there). He
[Morya] came to scold me roundly for something I had done in T.S.
matters. . . "

Does Brigitte discount the actions of the servant? Does Brigitte
disbelieve that this man called a Brother scolded Olcott?

Or does Brigitte question the historical reality of the ENTIRE
incident? When Olcott wrote that "This same Brother once visited me
in the flesh at Bombay, coming in full day light, and on horseback,"
does Brigitte mean that this incident simply did NOT happen ....
period? No horse, no man getting off the horse, no scolding, no HPB
running over, no dropping to her knees, etc. etc.?!

Brigitte continues her explanation by writing:

"Who could [take Olcott's letter at face value], after reading
[Olcott's] 'People of the other world' and finding out what this man
was all capable of believing."

At this point I will interject a few explanatory remarks.

Olcott's book PEOPLE FROM THE OTHER WORLD was first published in March
1875 in the USA. Here is a brief summary of the main part of the 
book in Olcott's own words:

"In the year. . . 1874 . . . , I was investigating a most startling
case of mediumship, that of William Eddy, an uneducated farmer, in
whose house were nightly appearing, and often talking, the alleged
spirits of dead persons. . . . with my own eyes I saw, within the
space of about three months, some five hundred of these apparitions,
under circumstances which, to my mind, excluded the possibility of
trickery or fraud. My observations were communicated to a New York
daily journal during the whole period, and the facts excited the
greatest wonder." See:

Of course, Olcott has been charged as being a credulous man based in
part upon his acceptance of the Eddy mediumship. Certainly, it must
have all been a fraud imposed upon Olcott by the Eddy Brothers
especially if one does not believe in the paranormal and in particular
in the phenomena of materialization and ectoplasm. This is not the
place to go into this subject but I would suggest that one should
first carefully read Olcott's book before one summarily dismisses the
case and considers Olcott a credulous man. As Olcott admits in the
book, he worked at the Eddy farmhouse under certain limitations but
tried to devise tests that would help to rule out fraud, etc. One must
really read the book and look carefully at the details.

But if one is inclined as Brigitte apparently is to believe that
Olcott was a credulous person EVEN AS EARLY as 1874, then please 
consider Henry Olcott's following testimony from around February 1876 
written to "prospective converts":

"Wonder treads upon wonder. I wrote an account of my [first]
interview with the Brother I took for a Hindoo Brahmin, and was sorry
enough afterwards I had said a word about it, either in letter or
lecture. [Then] I began to doubt my own senses and fancy the scene
had all been an objective hallucination but I have seen him again
yesterday and another man was with him.

"Other persons have seen this man in New York. He is not a Brahmin,
but a swarthy Cypriote. I did not ask him before of what country he

"I was reading in my room yesterday (Sunday) when there came a tap at
the door. I said 'come in' and then entered the Brother with another
dark skinned gentleman of about fifty with a bushy gray beard and eye

"We took cigars and chatted for a while.

"He said he would show me the production of flowers as the adepts do
it. At the same time pointing to the air, fancy --- the shadowy
outlines of flower after flower and leaf after leaf grew out of
nothing. The room was perfectly light; in fact the sun was shining
in. The flowers grew solid. A beautiful perfume saturated the air.
They were suspended as the down of a thistle in the air; each separate
from the other. Then they formed themselves into bouquets and a
splendid large one of roses, lilies of the valley, camelias, jessamine
and carnations floated down and placed itself in my hand. Then the
others separated again and fell in a shower to the floor. I was
stupefied with the manifestation.

"[Then] as he spoke [again] rain drops began pattering around us in
the room and positively a drenching shower was falling about us. The
carpet was soaked and so were my clothes, the books on the table, and
the bronzes, and clock, and photos on the mantel piece. But neither
of the Brothers received a drop.

"They sat there and quietly smoked their cigars, while mine became too
wet to burn. I just sat and looked at them in a sort of stupid
daze. They seemed to enjoy my surprise but smoked on and said
nothing. Finally the younger of the two (who gave me his name as
Ooton Liatto) said I need not worry. Nothing would be damaged.
The shower ceased as suddenly as it had begun. Then the elder man
took out of his pocket a painted lacquered case. Upon opening the
case a round flat concave crystal was displayed to view. He told me
to look in it.

"Holding it a few inches from my eye and shading my eye from the light
so that there might be no reflected rays cast upon the glass, the box
exhaled a strong spicy aromatic odor much like sandal wood but still
not just that. Whatever I wished to see, he said I need simply think
of, only taking care to think of but one thing at a time. I did as

"I thought of my dead mother as she used to sit with me twenty years
ago. I saw as it were a door in the far distance. It came nearer and
nearer, and grew plainer until I lost consciousness of external
objects and seemed to be in the very room I had in mind. Details long
forgotten, pictures, furniture, &c. came into view. My mother sat
there, and the conversation of twenty years ago was renewed.
I thought of a landscape --- lo! I stood upon the spot and mountain,
valley, river, and buildings lay smiling before me. I was there ---
not in my room in 34th Street.

"So for more than an hour, the thing went on. I seemed able to flit
from one clime to another with the speed of thought, and to call up
any spirit I wished to talk with. Things too that had occurred to me
when out of the body (all recollection of which had been obliterated
upon the return of my spirit to flesh) were shown me. But these were
only a few and unimportant, for when I seemed to be growing
inquisitive, some power prevented my seeing anything.

"Was I hallucinated? No sir, I was not. At least I can't imagine a
person being hallucinated and still be in such a state of mental
activity as I was in. I have never been psychologized. I am like
cast iron so far as sensitiveness to mesmeric influence while I used
to be a strong mesmeriser myself.

"The seance being over as I supposed, I asked Liatto if he knew Madam
B. He stared too. But as I thought he ought to know her, since her
flat was in the same house, I went on to discant [comment] upon her
character, her virtues, her intellectuality, &c. &c. The elder
Brother asked me to present their compliments to Madam and say that
with her permission they would call upon her.

"I ran down stairs, rushed into Madam's parlour and there sat these
two identical men smoking with her and chatting as quietly as if they
had been old friends. Madam motioned to me as if I had better not
come in, as if they had private business to talk over. I stood
transfixed looking from one to another in dumb amazement. I glanced
[at] the ceiling (my rooms are over Madame B's) but they had not
tumbled through.

"Madam said, 'What the Devil are you staring at Olcott? What's the
matter? You must be crazy.' I said nothing but rushed up stairs
again, tore open my door and the men were not there. I ran down
again; they had disappeared. I heard the front door close, looked
out of the window and saw them just turning the corner. Madam said
they had been with her for more than an hour. And that is all she
would tell me about them.

"When I showed her my wet clothes and the bouquet of flowers that
remained in evidence that I had not been hallucinated, she only said,
'That's nothing remarkable. Ask me no questions for I shall tell you
nothing. Let the Brothers do what they please for you, I shan't have
my name put out again as a medium.'

"In a half hour from the time the two men left, there was not a drop
of moisture in the room nor a shade of dampness to indicate that there
had been a shower. But my clothes stayed wet and had to be dried
before the fire."

The above extracts have been transcribed from the original source but
material not relevant to the subject has been silently deleted.
Explanatory words added by me are enclosed within brackets.

Now lets think about this a minute.

If Brigitte CANNOT accept at face value the straightforward event of
the Master Morya coming on horseback to Bombay, then I would really
like to know what she thinks about this 1876 series of events which
reeks of the paranormal and involves Ooton Liatto and "another dark
skinned gentleman of about fifty."

K. Paul Johnson, whose books Brigitte strongly defends, in his
first SUNY book THE MASTER REVEALED, gives the following assessment of
the above Ooton Liatoo 1876 encounter:

"The names Ooton Liatto and Hilarion Smerdis have been equally
impossible to find in biographical and historical reference books.
While both may be pseudonyms, there is little doubt that two real
adepts visited Olcott in New York." (p. 62)

Inspite of all the parnormal features of this account, Johnson
believes two REAL ADEPTS visited Olcott in New York. I take this to 
mean that Johnson believes two physical human beings, two flesh and 
blood persons came to the residences of Olcott and Blavatsky in New 
York City.

I am curious to know what Brigitte thinks about this case. Does
Brigitte agree with Paul Johnson's opinion on this case? Does
Brigitte accept this Ootoo Liatto case at face value? If Brigitte
really believes that HPB "clearly wrote about Olcott's Master 
fantasies to Hartmann", then I hope Brigitte will anwer this 
question: Is this Ootoo Liatto account by Olcott just another GOOD
EXAMPLE of "Olcott's Master fantasies"?

I hope Brigitte will share with us her thoughts and reasoning on this
subject, so that we can further understand her position.

Daniel H. Caldwell

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