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Cup & Saucer Incident: Sinnett's Earliest Account dated Oct. 23, 1880

Mar 08, 2002 01:22 PM
by Daniel Caldwell

Cup & Saucer Incident: 
Sinnett's Earliest Account dated Oct. 23, 1880

A. P. Sinnett wrote:

. . . . Madame Blavatsky accompanied a few friends one
morning [Oct. 3, 1880] on a little picnic in the
direction of the waterfalls. There were originally to
have been six persons present, including myself, but a
seventh joined the party just as it was starting. When
a place had been chosen in the wood near the upper
waterfall for the breakfast, the things brought, were
spread out on the ground. It turned out that there
were only six cups and saucers for seven people.
Through some joking about this deficiency, or through
some one professing to be very thirsty, and to think
the cups would be too small,  I cannot feel sure how
the idea arose, but it does not matter,  one of the
party laughingly asked Madame Blavatsky to create
another cup. There was no serious idea in the proposal
at first, but when Madame Blavatsky said it would be
very difficult, but that, if we liked, she would try,
the notion was taken up in earnest. Madame Blavatsky
as usual held mental conversations with "the
Brothers," and then wandered a little about in the
immediate neighbourhood of where we were sitting, and
asked one of the gentleman with us to bring a knife.
The place so chosen was the edge of a little slope
covered with thick weeds and grass and shrubby
undergrowth. The gentleman with the knife tore up
these, in the first instance, with some difficulty, as
their roots were tough and closely interlaced.
Cutting, then, into the matted roots and earth with
the knife and pulling away the debris with his hand,
he came at last on the edge of something white, which
turned out, as it was completely excavated, to be the
required cup. The saucer was also found after a little
more digging. The cup and saucer both corresponded
exactly, as regards their pattern, with those that had
been brought to the picnic, and constituted a seventh
cup and saucer when brought back to the place where we
were to have breakfast. At first all the party
appeared to be entirely satisfied with the bona fides
of this phenomenon, and were greatly struck by it, but
in the course of the morning some one conceived that
it was not scientifically perfect, because it was
theoretically POSSIBLE that by means of some
excavation below the place where the cup and saucer
were exhumed, they might have been thrust up into the
place where we found them, by ordinary means. Every
one knew that the surface of the ground where we dug
had certainly not been disturbed, nor were any signs
of excavation discoverable anywhere in the
neighborhood, but it was contended that the earth we
had ourselves thrown about in digging for the cup
might have obliterated the traces of these. I mention
the objection raised not because it is otherwise than
preposterous as a hypothesis, but because three of the
persons who were at the picnic have since considered
that the flaw described spoilt the phenomenon as a
test phenomenon. . . . 


Compare to Olcott's earliest account:

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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