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Materialization of Handwriting: Testimony of Henry S. Olcott

Mar 02, 2002 07:07 AM
by Daniel Caldwell

Testimony of Henry S. Olcott
April, 1875
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

In November 1874, when my researches were finished [at
Chittenden, Vermont], I returned to New York and
[later went to Philadelphia].

An experiment [was] made by HPB, with myself as a
passive agent after my coming to her house in
Philadelphia. She was tipping tables for me, with and
without the contact between her hands and the table,
making loud and tiny raps—sometimes while holding her
hand six inches above the wood and sometimes while
resting her hand upon mine as it lay flat upon the
table—and spelling out messages to me from the
pretended John King, which, as rapped out by the
alphabet, I recorded on scraps of paper. At last some
of these messages relating to third parties seemed
worth keeping, so one day, on my way home, I bought a
reporter's notebook, and, on getting to the house,
showed it to her and explained its intended use. She
was seated at the time and I standing. Without
touching the book or making any mystical pass or sign,
she told me to put it in my bosom. I did so, and after
a moment's pause she bade me take it out and look
within. This is what I found inside the first cover,
written and drawn on the white lining paper in lead

his book.
4th of the Fourth month in A.D. 1875.

Underneath this, the drawing of a Rosicrucian jewel;
over the arch of the jeweled crown, the word FATE;
beneath which is her name, "Helen," followed by what
looks like 99, something smudged out, and then a
simple + [etc.]. I have the book on my table as I
write, and my description is taken from the drawing
itself. One striking feature of this example of
psycho-dynamics is the fact that no one but myself had
touched the book after it was purchased; I had had it
in my pocket until it was shown to HPB, from the
distance of two or three feet, had myself held it in
my bosom, removed it a moment later when bidden, and
the precipitation of the lead-pencil writing and
drawing had been done while the book was inside my
waistcoat. Now the writing inside the cover of the
book is very peculiar. It is a quaint and quite
individual handwriting, not like HPB's, but identical
with that in all the written messages I had from first
to last from "John King." HPB having, then, the power
of precipitation, must have transferred from her mind
to the paper the images of words traced in this
special style of script; or, if not she, but some
other expert in this art did it, then that other
person must have done it in that same way—i.e., have
first pictured to himself mentally the images of those
words and that drawing, and then precipitated, that
is, made them visible on the paper, as though written
with a lead pencil.

Quoted from: 
Olcott, Henry S. Old Diary Leaves: The True Story of
the Theosophical Society. New York: G. P. Putnam's
Sons, 1895, Volume I, pp. 10, 40–2.

[Note: The above extracts have been transcribed from
the original source but material not relevant has been
silently deleted. The original text, however, can be
found from the bibliographical reference. Explanatory
words added by the editor are enclosed within brackets.]

Daniel H. Caldwell
"...Contrast alone can enable us to appreciate things at
their right value; and unless a judge compares notes and
hears both sides he can hardly come to a correct decision."
H.P. Blavatsky. The Theosophist, July, 1881, p. 218.

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