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A.P. Sinnett tries his "experiments" on Holloway, Mary and Cleather

Jun 19, 2006 09:38 AM
by danielhcaldwell

A.P. Sinnett tries his "experiments" on Holloway, Mary and Cleather

In 1884, Mr. Sinnett believed he was in contact
with the Master K.H., independent of H.P.B.
acting as mediator. Sinnett wrote in his
book "The Early Days of Theosophy":

"About this time [early July 1884] Mrs.
Holloway, a wonderfully gifted American
psychic came to stay with us. . . . .She
used to get vivid clairvoyant visions of
the Master, - could pass on messages to me
from K.H. and on one occasion he actually
made use of her to speak to me in the first
person." p. 27

What is not clear from his account is that Mr. Sinnett
actually "hypnotised" Laura Holloway.

Notice what Master Morya writes about Mrs. Holloway
in a letter to H.P.B.:

"Had she [Mrs. Holloway] been docile to advice given
to her, had she avoided to fall daily under magnetic
influence that, after first experiment, dragged her
down from the lofty plane of seership to the low
level of mediumship, she would have developed by
this time sufficiently to trust in herself with
her visions."

I believe one can reasonably conclude that this refers to Mr.
Sinnett's "hypnotising" of Mrs. Holloway.

Master Koot Hoomi writes on this very subject to Sinnett himself:

"I have never bound you to anything thro' Mrs. H[olloway]; never
communicated with you or any one else thro' her -- nor have any of
my, or M.'s chelas, to my knowledge, except in America, once at Paris
and another time at Mrs. A.'s house. She is an excellent but quite
undeveloped clairvoyante. Had she not been imprudently meddled with,
and had you followed the old woman's and Mohini's advice indeed, by
this time I might have spoken with you thro' her -- and such was our
intention. It is again your own fault, my good friend. You have
proudly claimed the privilege of exercising your own, uncontrolled
judgment in occult matters you could know nothing about -- and the
occult laws -- you believe you can defy and play with, with
impunity -- have turned round upon you and have badly hurt you."

Sinnett continued to do his "experiments" as can be seen in the
following two accounts.


In The Autobiography of Alfred Percy Sinnett, he wrote:

"On the 26th of April 1886. . . we went . . . to the Albemarle
Club . . . to meet a lady who was . . . desirous of making my
acquaintance . . . . . I will give her a fictitious name and call her
Mary. . . . shortly afterwards I tried a mesmeric experiment with her
(in accordance with her wish) and obtained remarkable results - she
went very easily into a trance in which she became unequivocally
clairvoyant. . . .I became convinced that she clairvoyantly saw the
mountain region in Tibet where the Master K.H. resided. . . . . It
became obvious that Mary might become a link between myself and the
Master. . . . . Mary came to stay with us . . . in February 1888 and
our regular mesmeric sittings were resumed almost every evening, the
Master [KH] talking to me through her in most cases. In this way I
gathered a great deal of miscellaneous occult information. . . . .
Mary left us to go to her own home in May 1888 having had mesmeric
sitting almost every evening while she was with us, at most of which
the Master spoke to me, - or rather dictated to her what he wished to
say. She would pass into a higher condition in which she could be in
touch with him and be enabled to repeat his words to her in reply to
my questions or remarks." pp 33 & 38-39


In 1887-1888, Mr. Sinnett tried to hypnotize another Theosophist.
Mrs. Alice Leighton Cleather has left us a record of her experiences
with Mr. Sinnett in this regard:

"Had it not been for H. P. B., it is just possible that I myself
might have figured as one of Mr. Sinnett's sensitives. I was seeing
a great deal of both him and his wife, before H. P. B. moved into
London from Maycot; and one day Mr. Sinnett suggested that I should
allow him to make the experiment of trying to 'release' my soul from
the body, as I might then have some interesting experiences. I
thought so, too, although I then knew nothing of the dangers of such
irresponsible practices. . . . However, on receiving from Mr. Sinnett
the assurance that he would be able to bring my soul safely back
again, I consented to submit to the experiment. His method proved to
be the usual one. He asked me to lie down and close my eyes, and
then proceeded to make mesmeric passes. He told me that I should
soon 'go off,' and would then become conscious on 'a higher plane.'
After what seemed to be about ten minutes, and I was beginning to
wonder when 'I' should be 'released,' Mr. Sinnett said in a low
voice: 'Now you can't move your right arm.' Naturally I did so
at once, and lifted my forearm, opening my eyes at the same time to
look at him. I have rarely seen anyone so taken aback; he had
evidently thought I was 'off.' He seemed also quite annoyed by the
failure of the experiment, but said we would try again another day.
We never did, however, for soon afterwards H. P.B. moved into London,
and I happened to mention the incident to her. She was really angry,
and absolutely forbade me to permit Mr. Sinnett, or anyone else, to
try such experiments again. Later on, of course, I came to learn the
extreme danger of such practices, and that in the wrong hands they
are forms of Black Magic. I relate these few incidents, out of many
that could be cited, in order to show the very questionable basis on
which Mr. Sinnett's claim to 'independent communication' [with
the Masters] rested...." Alice Leighton Cleather, "H. P. Blavatsky:
As I Knew Her," pp. 32-33

In an appendix to the above work by Mrs. Cleather, Basil Crump added
the following observations:

"There was also another source of self-deception of some importance
in diasgnosing Mr. Sinnett's case. He quotes (p. 104) [Early
Days of Theosophy in Europe] an article by his wife in which she says
that he was a student of 'the higher aspects of mesmerism.' She calls
his method the 'pure and more spiritual form' why which 'the true
Ego, by the effort or assistance of the mesmerist, is really cleared
of close connection with the lower principles,' but 'still, of
course, in close magnetic touch with the operator.'

If the reader will compare this with Mrs. Cleather's account...
[see above] of Mr. Sinnett's abortive attempt to hypnotise her, in
order to 'release her soul,' it will be clear that he was, at the
time he lost direct touch with the Master K.H. through his
treacherous and disloyal attitude towards H.P.B. (in 1884-5),
endeavouring to regain it by getting hypnotic control over suitably
sensitive organisms. . . . Hence H.P.B.'s anger when she heard of
his attempt on Mrs. Cleather, who was fortunately for herself much
too positive; and it is evident from Mr. Sinnett's account that she
also at once put a stop to his attempt to make use of Mrs. Holloway,
for he says (p. 61) she was 'angrily jealous' and 'insisted on Mrs.
Holloway leaving us and coming back to the Arundales' (with whom H.P.
B. was staying). Mrs. Holloway. . ., who is very indignant at what
she terms 'the falsity of Mr. Sinnett's assertions,' is dealing with
them fully in her book, and is also printing several letters she
received from her own Masters, and H.P.B.'s, at that period. . . .

"The real reason for H. P. B.'s anger at Mr. Sinnett's hypnotic
practices was that they were sheer Black Magic, fraught with grave
moral and psychic danger to the subject. In her Esoteric
Instructions she explains what happens to the Ego under such control,
which will be seen to be quite different from Mrs. Sinnett's
description. Under the head of "Colours, Sounds, and Forms" in
Instruction No. I she says:

'A good clairvoyant, morevover, if he had an opportunity of seeing a
Yogi in the trance state and a mesmerised subject, side by side,
would learn an important lesson in Occultism. He would learn to know
the difference between self-induced trance and a hypnotic state
resulting from extraneous influence.

'In the Yogi, the 'principles' of the lower Quaternary disappear
entirely. . . . Nothing [visible] but hardly perceptible vibrations
of the golden-hued Prana [Life] principle and a violent flame
streaked with gold rushing upwards from the head, in the region where
the Third Eye rests, and culminating in a point. . . .

'On the other hand, in a subject in an artificially produced hypnotic
or mesmeric trance, an effect of unconscious when not of conscious
Black Magic, unless produced by a high Adept, the whole set of the
principles will be present, with the Higher Manas paralysed, Buddhi
severed from it through that paralysis, and the red-violent Astral
Body entirely subjected to the Lower Manas and Kama Rupa (the green
and red animal monsters in us).'

"Observe that, far from the Higher Ego or Soul (Higher Manas) being
freed from the body, as Mrs. Sinnett describes it is 'paralysed' and
the unfortunate subject is left at the mercy of the lower nature and
the hypnotiser's will." See Alice Leighton Cleather, "H. P.
Blavatsky: As I Knew Her," pp. 61, 63-64.


"...none but the logician, the investigator, the dauntless
explorer should meddle with books like this. Such delvers
after truth have the courage of their opinions."
H.P. Blavatsky

"...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 world mental as in the world spiritual each man
must progress by his own efforts. The writer cannot do the
reader's thinking for him, nor would the latter be any the
better off if such vicarious thought were possible..."
H.P. Blavatsky

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