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Steve, did you know that Meade "explains" the cup and saucer incident??

Mar 09, 2002 05:34 PM
by danielhcaldwell

Brigitte Muehlegger now tells us to look for an explanation about the 
teacup and saucer incident in Marion Meade's MADAME BLAVATSKY, p.223-

Brigitte, do you actually agree with Meade's "explanation"?

Is Meade's explanation just one of many "possible" explanations or is 
Meade's explanation the most "probable" explanation in light of all 
the known evidence? In other words, are we at step 2 or at step 4 
with Meade's "explanation"?

Anyway, as Brigitte ponders the above, I give Meade's explanation:

"At the time and even later Alfred could find no loopholes in what 
came to be known as 'the cup and saucer incident.' He based his 
conviction mainly on the fact that Madame Blavatsky could not have 
known in advance that there would be seven guests in the party, as 
the judge had arrived only at the last minute. OBVIOUSLY she did 
know, and so did Patience Sinnett because Olcott overheard her 
telling the butler: 'It was very stupid of you not to put in 
another cup and saucer when you knew that the other gentleman would 
have to have tea.' It seems reasonable TO ASSUME that H.P.B. had 
instructed Babula to bury the cup and saucer, then led the picnickers 
to the spot herself. In fact, this notion had already occurred to 
the judge and police chief who later in the afternoon examined the 
site. Their final conclusion was that it was theoretically POSSIBLE 
for someone to have tunneled in from below and thrust the cup and 
saucer up into the place where they were discovered. Apparently 
Babula later confided to Emma Coulomb that this was exactly what he 
had done. In the experts' opinion, the phenomenon could not be 
accepted as scientifically perfect and, somewhat indelicately, they 
challenged her to repeat it under test conditions. Helena, who had 
worked hard to stage the tableau, could not keep herself from 
exploding. Henry vividly remembered that 'she seemed to take leave 
of her senses and poured out upon the two unfortunate skeptics the 
thunder of her wrath. And so our pleasant party ended in an angry 
tempest.' " Caps added

Well, Steve, what do you think of Meade's "explanation"?

Now a few more questions to ponder:

Is Meade actually explaining the incident [at step 4] or is Meade 
simply speculating [at step 2]? See 4 Step Process at:

Is Meade simply using the "unpacking" method I've described before?
[See ]
As Ray Hyman wrote: "it is ALWAYS possible to 'imagine' SOME 
scenario in which cheating no matter how implausible, COULD HAVE 
occurred." Caps added. This is a step 2 technique.

Is Meade simply using the "possibility/plausibility" method of 
argument? See 
for an example.

Has Meade followed the Barzun and Graffe dictum?

"The rule of 'Give Evidence' is not be be violated. . . .No matter how
possible or plausible the author's conjecture it cannot be accepted
as truth if he has only his hunch [which is not evidence] to support 
it. Truth rests not on possibility or plausibility but on 
probability. Probability means the balance of chances that, GIVEN 
SUCH AND SUCH EVIDENCE, the event it records happened in a certain 
way; or, in other cases, that a supposed event did not in fact take 
place." Caps added.

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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