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Read Blavatsky's article instead of accepting what Muehlegger claims about the article

Mar 29, 2002 07:42 AM
by Daniel Caldwell

H. P. Blavatsky

THE particulars of the case of "obsession," alluded to
in the April number of this magazine, are given in the
following letter from a respectable English medical
man who is in attendance upon the victim:-- 

I take the liberty of addressing you in the cause of
humanity, with the intention of exciting your
sympathies and obtaining all the aid in your power to
afford, in a case of "control." You will understand
that the gentleman is being made a medium against his
wish, through having attended a few séances for the
purpose of witnessing "materialization." 
Ever since, he has been more or less subject to a
series of persecutions by the "controlling" spirit
and, in spite of every effort of his to throw off the
influence, he has been made to suffer most shamefully
and painfully in very many ways and under most trying
and aggravating circumstances, especially by his
thoughts being forced into forbidden channels without
external causes being present--the bodily functions
overruled, even being caused to bite his tongue and
cheeks severely whilst eating, &c., and subjected to
every species of petty annoyances which will serve as
a means for the "control" (unknown) to sustain and
establish the connection. The details are in their
most painful features not such as I can write to you;
but if there be any means known to you whereby the
influence can be diverted, and it is thought necessary
to be more particular in my description of this case,
I will send you all the information I possess. 
So little is known in India of the latest and most
startling phase of Western mediumistic
phenomena--"materialization,"--that a few words of
explanation are needed to make this case understood.
Briefly, then, for several years, in the presence of
certain mediums in America and Europe, there have been
seen, often under good test conditions, apparitions of
the dead, which in every respect seem like living
human beings. They walk about, write messages to
present and absent friends, speak audibly in the
languages familiar to them in life, even though the
medium may be unacquainted with them, and are dressed
in the garb they wore when alive. Many cases of
fraudulent personation of the dead have been detected,
pretended mediums have sometimes gone on for years
deceiving the credulous, and real ones, whose
psychical powers have been apparently proved beyond
doubt, have been caught playing tricks in some evil
hour when they have yielded to either the love of
money or notoriety. Still, making every allowance for
all these, there is a residuum of veritable cases of
the materialization, or the making visible, tangible
and audible of portrait figures of dead people. These
wonderful phenomena have been variously regarded by
investigators. Most Spiritualists have looked upon
them as the most precious proofs of the soul-survival;
while Theosophists, acquainted with the views of the
ancient Theurgists, and the still more ancient Aryan
philosophers, have viewed them as at best misleading
deceptions of the senses, fraught with danger to the
physical and moral natures of both medium and
spectator--if the latter chances to be susceptible to
certain psychical influences. These students of
Occultism have noticed that the mediums for
materializations have too often been ruined in health
by the drain upon their systems, and wrecked in
morals. They have over and again warned the
Spiritualistic public that mediumship was a most
dangerous gift, one only to be tolerated under great
precautions. And for this they have received much
abuse and few thanks. Still one's duty must be done at
every cost, and the case now before us affords a
valuable text for one more bit of friendly counsel. 

We need not stop to discuss the question whether the
so-called materialized forms above described are or
are not those of the deceased they look like. That may
be held in reserve until the bottom facts of Oriental
psychical science are better understood. Nor need we
argue as to whether there has ever been an authentic
materialization. The London experiences of Mr. William
Crookes, F.R.S., and the American ones of Colonel
Olcott, both so widely known and of so convincing a
character, give us a sufficient basis of fact to argue
upon. We assume the reality of materializations, and
shall take the instance cited by the English physician
as a subject for diagnosis. 

The patient then is described as having been
"controlled" since attending "circles" where there
were materializations, and as having become the
bond-slave of some evil powers which force him to say
and do painful and even disgusting things, despite his
resistance. Why is this? How can a man be compelled to
so act against his will? What is Obsession? Three
brief questions these are, but most difficult to
explain to an uninitiated public. The laws of
Obsession can only be well understood by him who has
sounded the depths of Indian philosophy. The only clue
to the secret, which the West possesses, is contained
in that most beneficent science, Magnetism or
Mesmerism. That does teach the existence of a vital
fluid within and about the human being; the fact of
different human polarities; and the possibility of one
person projecting this fluid or force at will, to and
upon another person differently polarized. Baron
Reichenbach's theory of Odyle or Odic force shows us
the existence of this same fluid in the mineral and
vegetable as well as the animal kingdoms. To complete
the chain of evidence, Buchanan's discovery of the
psychometrical faculty in man enables us to prove, by
the help of this faculty, that a subtle influence is
exerted by people upon the houses and even the
localities they live in, the paper they write upon,
the clothing they wear, the portion of the Universal
Ether (the Aryan Akása) they exist in--and that this
is a permanent influence, perceptible even at the most
distant epochs from the time when the individual lived
and exerted this influence. In one word, we may say
that the discoveries of Western science corroborate
most fully the hints thrown out by Greek sages and the
more defined theories of certain Indian philosophers. 

Indians and Buddhists believe alike that thought and
deed are both material, that they survive, that the
evil desires and the good ones of a man environ him in
a world of his own making, that these desires and
thoughts take on shapes that become real to him after
death, and that Moksha. in the one case, and Nirvana,
in the other, cannot be attained until the disembodied
soul has passed quite through this shadow-world of the
haunting thoughts, and become divested of the last
spot of its earthly taint. The progress of Western
discovery in this direction has been and must ever be
very gradual. From the phenomena of gross to those of
more sublimated matter, and thence on towards the
mysteries of spirit is the hard road made necessary by
the precepts of Aristotle. Western Science first
ascertained that our outcoming breath is charged with
carbonic acid and, in excess, becomes fatal to human
life; then, that certain dangerous diseases are passed
from person to person in the sporules thrown off into
the air from the sick body; then, that man projects
upon every body and every thing he encounters a
magnetic aura, peculiar to himself; and, finally, the
physical disturbance set up in the Ether in the
process of thought-evolution is now postulated.
Another step in advance will be to realize the magical
creative power of the human mind, and the fact that
moral taint is just as transmissible as physical. The
"influence" of bad companions will then be understood
to imply a degrading personal magnetism, more subtle
than the impressions conveyed to the eye or the ear by
the sights and sounds of a vicious company. The latter
may be repelled by resolutely avoiding to see or hear
what is bad; but the former enwraps the sensitive and
penetrates his very being if he but stop where the
moral poison is floating in the air. Gregory's "Animal
Magnetism," Reichenbach's "Researches," and Denton's
"Soul of Things" will make much of this plain to the
Western inquirer, though neither of those authors
traces the connection of his favourite branch of
science with the parent-stock--Indian Psychology. 

Keeping the present case in view, we see a man highly
susceptible to magnetic impressions, ignorant of the
nature of the "materializations" and, therefore,
unable to protect himself against bad influences,
brought in contact with promiscuous circles where the
impressionable medium has long been the unwitting
nucleus of evil magnetisms, his system saturated with
the emanations of the surviving thoughts and desires
of those who are living and those who are dead. The
reader is referred to an interesting paper by Judge
Gadgil of Baroda (see our December number), on "Hindu
Ideas about Communion with the Dead," for a plain
exposition of this question of earth-tied souls, or
Pisachas. "It is considered," says that writer, "that
in this state, the soul, being deprived of the means
of enjoyment of sensual pleasures through its own
physical body, is perpetually tormented by hunger,
appetite and other bodily desires, and can have only
vicarious enjoyment by entering into the living
physical bodies of others, or by absorbing the
subtlest essences of libations and oblations offered
for their own sake." What is there to surprise us in
the fact that a negatively polarized man, a man of a
susceptible temperament, being suddenly brought into a
current of foul emanations from some vicious person,
perhaps still living or perhaps dead, absorbes the
insidious poison as rapidly as quicklime does
moisture, until he is saturated with it? Thus, a
susceptible body will absorb the virus of small-pox,
or cholera, or typhus, and we need only recall this to
draw the analogy which Occult Science affirms to be

Near the Earth's surface there hangs over us--to use a
convenient simile--a steamy moral fog, composed of the
undispersed exhalations of human vice and passion.
This fog penetrates the sensitive to the very soul's
core; his psychic self absorbs it as the sponge does
water, or as fresh milk effluvia. It benumbs his moral
sense, spurs his baser instincts into activity,
overpowers his good resolutions. As the fumes of a
wine-vault make the brain reel or as the choke-damp
stifles one's breath in a mine, so this heavy cloud of
immoral influences carries away the sensitive beyond
the limits of self-control, and he becomes "obsessed,"
like our English patient. 

What remedy is there to suggest? Does not our very
diagnosis indicate that? The sensitive must have his
sensitiveness destroyed; the negative polarity must be
changed to a positive; he must become active instead
of passive. He can be helped by a magnetiser who
understands the nature of obsession, and who is
morally pure and physically healthy; it must be a
powerful magnetiser, a man of commanding will-force.
But the fight for freedom will, after all, have to be
fought by the patient himself. His will-power must be
aroused. He must expel the poison from his system.
Inch by inch he must win back the lost ground. He must
realize that it is a question of life or death,
salvation or ruin, and strive for victory, like one
who makes a last and heroic effort to save his life.
His diet must be of the simplest, he must neither eat
animal food, nor touch any stimulant, nor put himself
in any company where there is the smallest chance for
unclean thoughts to be provoked. He should be alone as
little as possible, but his companions should be
carefully chosen. He should take exercise and be much
in the open air; use wood-fire, instead of coals.
Every indication that the bad influence was still
working within him should be taken as a challenge to
control his thoughts and compel them to dwell upon
pure, elevating, spiritual things, at every hazard and
with a determination to suffer anything rather than
give way. If this man can have such a spirit infused
into him, and his physician can secure the benevolent
help of a strong, healthy magnetiser, of pure
character, he may be saved. A case almost exactly like
this one, except that the patient was a lady, came
under our notice in America; the same advice as the
above was given and followed, and the obsessing
"devil" was driven out and has been kept out ever

Theosophist, May 1880 

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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