Autobiography

From The Occult Review VII, Jan 1908, pp7-35

Having long ago been accustomed to look upon this evanescent world of illusions as a great comedy and upon the actors therein as continually changing masks in which only the eternal reality hidden behind the veil of visible matter is worthy of serious consideration, I consider the mundane affairs of mortal personalities, my own included, as of no great importance and have no great desire to parade my own personality with its virtues and vices before the public. However, as every one of us may learn something useful by being informed of the experience of another, and as my experiences and adventures, especially in regard to occult subjects have been somewhat extraordinary and interesting, illustrating, moreover, the action of Karma acquired in previous incarnations, I have pleasure in supplying (at the Editor’s request) the following account:—

I was born on November 22, 1838, at Donauwörth, a small town on the Danube in Bavaria. My father, Dr. Carl Hartmann, was a well-known and prominent physician, and my mother, Elizabeth von Stack, was of Irish descent; her ancestors were said to be descendants of Caolbha the 123rd and last king of the Irish race and 47th king of Ulster.

Some old family papers still in my possession go to corroborate this statement, and, strange to say, it seems to me that I was inhabiting Ireland myself in some previous incarnation; because, upon visiting that country some years ago, the lakes of Killarney and many other places seemed very familiar to me, and I remembered certain events in the history of Ireland of which I had never received information in any external way.

My mother’s family emigrated to France after the execution of Charles I and afterwards to Bavaria during the French Revolution. When I was about one year old, my parents moved to Kempten in Southern Bavaria and there I received my education; first under the guidance of my grandfather, who had been an officer in the French army under Napoleon I and a participant of his battles in Russia; afterwards in the ordinary curriculum of the public schools.

I remember that even in my earliest youth it seemed to me as if I were composed of two personalities. I spoke of myself as being two boys, a good one and a bad one. The good one was a dreamer and idealist and had sometimes beautiful visions, perhaps recollections of the devachanic state which he had occupied previous to his present incarnation; the bad one was very obstinate and self-willed, ready to perpetrate all sorts of mischief and reprehensible tricks, and for all I know he may have been a so-called “Dweller of the Threshold”; that is to say, a form shaped by bad Karma during a previous incarnation and having survived in Kama loca.

I always loved solitude, and my favorite lounging place was near the top of a tall spruce tree in the thicket of a pine forest on a hill, where I built myself a nest of boughs and held converse with the spirits of the air, or I spent hours at the shore of a solitary lake hidden between hills and rocks, where I imagined I saw the nymphs playing among the water-lilies and listened to their songs. The intercourse with the spirits of nature was to me so real and interesting, that I cared very little for being in company with my schoolmates and taking part in their play; in fact, it developed a certain sentimentality, of which I have not been cured up to this day.

My longing for the supersensual and mysterious may have been the reason why I was strongly attracted by the ceremonies of the Roman Catholic Church, in whose doctrines I was educated. The grand dome with its cupola and colored windows, hidden stalls and secret vaults, the music and lights and mysterious ceremonies exercised a great influence over my mind. I felt showers of ethereal vibrations pass through my body during the holy mass and the sounding of the big bell seemed to lift my spirit beyond the clouds.

I knew that behind all this outward show and ceremony there must be some mysterious, living influence or power; but none of the priests whom I consulted could give me any satisfactory explanation.

They only talked about blind belief in the teachings of the Catechism, but I did not want merely to believe in theories; I wanted to know. I was not aware that the mysteries of religion must first be realized within the knowledge of the heart before they can be understood with the brain.

At a time when my religious doubts were very strong, I made friends with a comrade somewhat older than myself and who later on became a well-known composer of music. This young man was a thorough materialist and rationalist.

According to the phrenological development of my skull, I have a great deficiency of self-esteem. I always believed that everybody knew everything much better than I, only to find out my mistake afterwards. In this way I fell into a great many deplorable errors and lost a great deal of money.

My new friend did not believe in anything except eating and drinking, playing the piano, and enjoying himself wherever there was an occasion, and it did not take him long to persuade me that all religion was only a humbug instituted by priests for the purpose of profiting from the ignorance and superstition of the people. Moreover, materialism was at that time the fashion; I read the books of Ludwig Büchner, composed poetry and wrote a theatrical play, the subject being taken from Greek history.

I tried to avoid all religious thought and looked upon clericalism with the greatest contempt. Nevertheless, the teachings of Büchner, Moleschott and Comte did not satisfy me. There seemed to be something wanting in them. They only tore down and destroyed things which existed; but they did not build up anything compatible with my own intuition. Consequently, there remained nothing else to do but to fall for a while into a state of agnosticism, which was more unsatisfactory than all the rest.

In this state of mind I became a student at the University of Munich, joined a “Corporation,” and soon excelled the rest in dueling, occasional drinking and other amusements; not for the love of such things, which appeared to me ridiculous, but out of ambition and pride. I wanted to be at least the equal of everybody in everything.

This love of ambition, together with a superabundance of energy, has often caused me trouble. Thus, for instance, once while making a difficult ascent of a high glacier of the Alps one of my comrades dared me to pass over an extremely steep part of the ice. My pride arose; I wanted to show him that to me no such thing was impossible. I went, slipped, fell down and had to be glad to escape a fall of 3,000 feet by striking against a rock and getting a fractured leg.

This, however, was cured and the accident did not prevent me joining the Bavarian army and serving for a few months in the 1st Artillery regiment as a volunteer in 1859 during the war between Austria, Italy and France. Numerous amusing incidents might be told of my adventures during those times; but they do not come within the scope of this article, which is to deal more especially with interior experiences and changes of mind.

In the year 1865 my medical studies were ended and I went to Paris, where I remained for some weeks. Being desirous of seeing the ocean, I one day made a trip to Havre by an excursion train, such as frequently carry the Parisians there on Saturday evening and bring them back on Monday morning.

On the intervening Sunday I made the casual acquaintance of a gentleman who in the course of our conversation asked me whether I would not like to make a trip to America, and he furthermore told me that the ship Mercury, with some 360 emigrants, was about to leave for New York, and that they needed a physician.

Love of adventure induced me to accept that position, and instead of returning to Paris I went on board, after having passed through a hurried examination before the medical committee for the purpose of proving my qualifications. We started for New York, and the voyage was very pleasant, but not without incidents, for another emigrant ship, with hundreds of passengers, took fire in the open sea and was burned. Only a few were saved which we took on board.

I loved the sea and would have wished to stay there all my life; but to my great regret we arrived at New York, after a forty days’ voyage, on August 28, 1865, and having no other plans I went to see the Niagara Falls and thence to St. Louis.

Now it happened that there was an epidemic of cholera at St. Louis at that time. This gave me an opportunity to make myself useful. So I hung out my sign, remained at St. Louis, became an American citizen and soon had a remunerative practice. Love of change and adventure, however, left me no rest. I found my life too monotonous; the climate of St. Louis was in winter exceedingly cold and I desired to see a tropical country.

So I turned my practice over to another physician and went to New Orleans and finding, while taking a walk on the wharf, a schooner ready to sail for Mexico, I took passage and left for Vera Cruz, where we arrived on February 17, 1871.

I then went to the city of Mexico and later on to Puebla and Cordova, and I might write a volume about the many interesting experiences which I had in that country, which at that time was not yet so much invaded by foreigners as it is now; but space will not permit it.

I can, however, not omit mentioning the beautiful spectacle offered by a sight of the Pique de Orizaba on a sunny morning. , when darkness still covers the valley and the mist hides the foot of the mountain, while the icefields of the volcano reflect the splendor of the rising sun; so that it seems as if a new planet had been created during the night and was now floating in space in close proximity to our earth.

However much I was pleased with Mexico I thought it more profitable for me to return to the United States. I took passage at Vera Cruz on board an American brig and arrived once more at New Orleans.

There I was robbed by a fellow passenger of the whole of my baggage, which I had entrusted to his safe keeping for a few hours; but who absconded with it.

Thus I was left at New Orleans, where I did not know a single soul, with nothing but the clothes I wore and a few dollars in my waistcoat pocket. All my goods, instruments, papers, books and documents were gone, and I was at a loss what to do. To begin to practice medicine in a strange city without having any means or acquaintances would have been an impossibility.

I thought of applying for a position as policeman; but I soon found out that I might just as well expect to be elected President of the United States as to be appointed a policeman at New Orleans, as to that office only persons of political influence are selected.

That night the mosquitoes on the Mississippi River were very annoying to me, and the next morning I went to a drug store to buy a remedy to cure the bites.

The apothecary began a conversation with me, and hearing of my adventure, he told me that I came to him like a godsend, as he needed a physician to write prescriptions for the patients that came to seek advice in his drug store. His offers were very favorable; I accepted them and in less than a month I had a very remunerative practice and a larger income than I would have ever dared to hope to attain in my life.

Especially the Protestant system seemed to me a delusion of the brain without any heart. The pious people whom I met claimed that all the Bible stories, no matter how absurd and incredible they were, had to be believed literally, and my objection that “the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life” made no impression upon their minds.

They seemed to believe in some vicarious atonement made by another person, and that one could only attain eternal salvation by claiming to believe in certain theories and in the veracity of a certain historical account, of which, in reality, nobody knew whether it was actually true. Their religion seemed to me extremely egotistical, because every one asked, above all, salvation for himself, caring but little what would become of the rest.

A far better sentiment I had found in the house of the Jewish Rabbi, whose family life was very harmonious, and also among the Red Indians; for when I once, and without any companion, undertook an excursion on horseback among the Senerca, Shawnees and Choktaw tribes, I found there the most admirable kindness and hospitality and was assured by them that the “Great Spirit” (whom I suppose to be the spirit of brotherly love) was residing with them.

Thus far I had been an enemy to spiritism; because I had been told that all the “spiritualistic” phenomena were produced by trickery and fraud. A believer in spiritism was, to my mind, a longhaired crank with goggle eyes, who would see the products of his own diseased imagination in the shape of ghosts in every corner.

Nevertheless, my curiosity prompted me to visit a certain “materializing séance” held by a medium by the name of Mrs. Rice or Mrs. Holmes (?), and there I saw the most wonderful phenomena of tangible appearances and materializations of ghosts, known as the spirits of Katie King and certain others. I became interested in these things and went to hear the lectures of Professor Peebles and the philosophy which he taught seemed to me very rational and plausible; but it overthrew all the theories of Büchner and Comte.

Just at that time I had a lady patient whose name was Katie Wentworth. She was a highly accomplished married lady with English and Indian blood in her veins. She was not a believer in spiritism, and rather unwilling to give credence to the accounts which I gave her of what I had witnessed; but for the purpose of seeing “whether there was anything in it,” she consented to sit with me, and after her recovery we held frequent séances together.

At first the phenomena were insignificant and the communications received through the “planchette” puerile but after a while other influences were attracted, and we had the most astonishing results. My friend Katie Wentworth became herself one of the most remarkable mediums for all kinds of manifestations, including trance, materialization, levitation, apports, direct writing, etc.

Perhaps, owing to her presence, I myself became to a certain extent clairvoyant and clairaudient, and I highly enjoyed the intercourse with the “departed.” Being accustomed to go easily into extremes I now devoted nearly all my time to the reading of books on spiritualism, such as the works of Andrew Jackson Davis, Hudson Tuttle, Judge Edmonds, and many others, while my principal amusements were my seances with my friend and with other mediums whom I had learned to know. Some of my experiences during that time have already been described in the OCCULT REVIEW, and it would take too much space to repeat these accounts.

Katie Wentworth’s accomplishments as a medium soon became known among the spiritualists; she received invitations for holding séances from all sides and accepted many. The consequence was that she was continually vampirized by these ghosts, lost her vitality, became paralyzed and died.

That these “spirits” were not what they claimed to be was clearly shown by the fact that, even within half an hour of that lady’s death, pretended spirits of some of the most celebrated physicians that ever lived on earth, came and made prescriptions for her and insisted that there was no danger.

It would perhaps have been well for me, if I had remained at New Orleans; but desire for change and adventures, together with glowing reports that came to me from Texas, induced me to go to that country. I was tired of fashionable city life; I longed to see the “Wild West.” I went there in 1873 and had my fill of adventures. My horse was shot dead by a playful drunken cowboy, while I was riding through the street in Fredericksburg, a few days after my arrival.

There was a continual war among the cattle thieves, and, the cowboys being good shooters, my services for holding inquests were sometimes more in demand than my aid for attending the wounded. There were a great many poor people in that country, and many a dark night I had to ride a great many miles through pouring rain and splashing mud to see some patient, but received no remuneration. Nevertheless, I lived the life and enjoyed it for fully five years, and I still think with pleasure of many beautiful rides over the prairies on moonlit nights, and of numerous thrilling adventures, accounts of which I must unfortunately omit, as I am asked to write an article and not a whole book.

At last, however, the annoyances predominated over the pleasures, and I left that country of mosquitoes and went to Colorado in 1879 where I settled for the time being at Georgetown, and felt myself immediately at home in the Rocky Mountains; for they had some resemblance to my beloved Bavarian Alps, only the vegetation in the “Rockies” was much poorer, owing to their higher elevation above the sea.

As this is a mining country, it was not long before I was induced to become the happy possessor of a gold and silver mine; but the streak of ore which it carried, although rich in metal, was so thin that it did not pay for the working, and after having lost several thousands of dollars by the aid of “clairvoyants” who claimed to know that I was very near to striking a “pocket,” I abandoned mining and all aspirations of becoming a millionaire in this incarnation.

During my five years’ stay in Colorado I had many wonderful experiences in occultism and spiritism, some of which I have already mentioned in the OCCULT REVIEW and of which a whole volume might be written. There I was cured by spiritual power of trouble which had been caused to me in my earliest childhood by the abominable practice of “vaccination.”

There I made the acquaintance of Mrs. N. D. Miller, of Denver, one of the most remarkable “materializing mediums” that ever existed, and as she sometimes stayed at my house I had occasion to witness the most interesting phenomena, fully materialized ghosts became my almost daily companions, fresh seaweeds were brought from the far distant ocean; I was myself levitated to the ceiling and carried through the air; in short, all the now well-known spiritual phenomena occurred under test conditions which left nothing to desire.

I was, and am of course still, a believer in these phenomena, for I cannot “unknow” that which I have actually experienced and known as well as any other fact in my daily life; but my experience with my friend Katie Wentworth had already taught me that these phenomena were probably not always caused by the spirits of departed human beings, and that they surely often originated in occult but intelligent forces or powers at present unknown to us.

My desire was to know the cause of such things. I had no doubt that in some cases, especially in those of suicides or sudden deaths, the souls of the killed, being still bound to earth by their own unfulfilled desires, could communicate with mortals.

I had received strong proof of it and especially the following experience made a strong impression upon my mind:—

I was elected coroner for the district of Clear Creek Country, to which Georgetown belongs, and it would have been my duty to order and hold inquest in cases of sudden death. One morning, however, in a town not far from where I resided, a physician committed suicide by poisoning himself with morphine. I was duly informed of it, but missed the first train to go to that place, and when I arrived in the afternoon, the other physicians there had already dissected the body of their colleague and cut it to pieces without waiting till it grew cold.

That night the apparition of the suicide rose up before me. He was in a horribly mutilated shape and seemed to suffer a great deal. It seems that his astral body had not yet been separated from his material form at the time of the dissection. The apparition may have been the product of my imagination, but it seemed exceedingly real.

I made use of every opportunity to stay at houses that were reputed to be haunted by ghosts, and had some remarkable experiences; but the ghosts I saw or heard showed very little or no intelligence: sometimes they appeared to be birds of enormous size, their footsteps were audible and the rush of their wings could be felt.

While my perplexity was at its highest and I despaired of the possibility of knowing anything certain about these manifestations, a number of The Theosophist, a journal edited by H. P. Blavatsky and published at Madras, fell into my hands.

It contained an article describing the sevenfold constitution of man and the seven principles in the universe. This came to me like a revelation, and seemed to furnish the key to those mysteries whose explanation I had sought so long in vain. I was delighted with this discovery, and my greatest desire now was to become personally acquainted with Madame Blavatsky and to learn from her more of the secrets of life and death.

I wrote to her, and few weeks afterwards I had a vivid dream. I dreamed I saw a letter with the address written on it to me, unknown, handwriting and with a strange postage stamp stuck on the wrong side of it.

I went to the Post Office, and there I found that identical letter in my box with the postage stamp on the wrong side.

It was a letter from Adyar, written by Colonel H. S. Olcott the President of the “Theosophical Society,” who in the name of his “Master” invited me to come to India and to collaborate with him. A few kind words were added by H. P. Blavatsky.

Of course, after such an invitation I had no desire to remain any longer in the United States of America or to continue the practice of medicine, and in the month of September, 1883, I left Colorado and started for California for the purpose of sailing to India. I stopped at Salt Lake City on my way to study the life of the Mormons, en route to San Francisco. It has always been my experience forward on the way to progress in spirituality, some great and unforeseen internal and external obstacles will arise to hinder him.

Thus it also happened to me on that occasion, for while I was staying at San Francisco I fell desperately in love with a young Spanish-American lady.

She was very beautiful and accomplished, and the very creature to tempt an angel from heaven and still more to confound the good sense of a poor sinner like myself. She appeared to me just the very ideal of a woman such as I had only met in my dreams “Conchita” (for this was her name) and sensuality on one side, with old Madame Blavatsky and spirituality on the other, it was for me a hard struggle to decide; but at last the desire for occult knowledge gained the victory over love; I tore myself away from the object of my passion, and on October 11, 1883~ I left California on board of the S.S. Coptic, bound for Hong Kong.

My adventures and experiences on the voyage and during my stay in India have been described, to a certain extent, in my novel The Talking Image of Urur, a humorous story which appeared first in H. P. Blavatsky’s paper Lucifer and was afterwards published as a book. This book, however, is now out of print. It was written for the purpose of showing that “from the sublime to the ridiculous there is only one step.”

On December 4, 1883, we arrived at Madras, and I went to Adyar, where I was welcomed by Madame Blavatsky “to my future home,” as she expressed it. The headquarters of the “Theosophical Society,” where she lived, were beautifully located near the Adyar River and only a short distance from the sea.

They consisted of a bungalow with some outbuildings and were surrounded by a park, containing palms, mango, and other trees. The lower part of the two-story house was for the use of the members of the Society; the upper story was occupied by Madame Blavatsky.

A great deal has already been written about H. P. Blavatsky, and I might, perhaps, be excused from now adding something to it, especially as I am quite certain that no one will ever be able to judge her extraordinary character correctly, unless he has been intimately acquainted with her. To an occultist, capable of seeing “beyond the veil,” her personality was extremely interesting.

To me she always appeared as a great spirit, a sage and initiate inhabiting the body of a grown-up capricious child, very amiable on the whole but also at times very irascible, ambitious, of an impetuous temper, but easily led and caring nothing for conventionalities of any kind. She seemed to be in possession of the highest occult wisdom and of a knowledge obtained not by the reading of books or by ratiocination, but by interior illumination and direct perception of truth. She seemed to know everything without having ever read anything, and as if the whole universe was to her like an open book.

She seemed to be at home on the astral plane as much as on the physical plane. Nevertheless she did not claim to be an adept, but only a conscious instrument of an intelligent power higher than her own personality.

  She used to say: “My learning is my Master’s. I am nothing but a reflector of some one else’s luminous light.”

To me it seems that this, “Master” was her own higher self and that everybody has such a light hidden within his own soul but not everybody is conscious of it. Men and women may be compared to lanterns in which such a light exists; in some it is only a spark that has not yet been discovered, in others the wick sheds but a dim glow, while in rare cases it gives a bright light that shines through the crystal.

  Many of those who presumed to judge thecharacter of H. P. Blavatsky could only see the polish of the lantern but were blind to the light contained in it. Thus Madame Blavatsky appeared to be two or even more different persons manifesting themselves in one body, and I have no doubt that her inner real or permanent self was in communication with other higher intelligences existing on the same plane, and that they thus were able to communicate their knowledge through her instrumentality or agency to the outside world.

These intelligences, or “Masters,” she claimed were certain adepts still living in Tibet and in possession of great occult powers, such as impressing suitable minds at a distance by what is now called ”telepathy,” going out in their astral forms or “thought bodies” and materializing themselves, using the organism of H. P. Blavatsky and other “disciples” for the production of “occult phenomena,” etc.

All such things, which some years ago appeared incredible, now appear quite possible in the light which recent investigations in occult science have thrown upon that subject. My own experience in this line has convinced me that such Masters exist.

I have been present on certain occasions when “the Master” appeared to her and she spoke with him. I could not see him with my eyes, but I felt his presence. His influence pervaded my whole being and filled me with a sensation of indescribable bliss which lasted for several days. This power, awakening within me a higher state of consciousness made me feel on such occasions as if it were my own and I the Master myself.

A great deal of nonsense has been written about the “occult phenomena” produced by Madame Blavatsky, by her enemies and others giving undue importance to them.

She was not a “spiritual medium,” producing phenomena under test conditions for the purpose of proving their reality, neither did she receive any money for it. All the phenomena which I witnessed in her presence were undoubtedly genuine, but if it is true that she occasionally “helped the spirits” or played some sleight of hand trick I would not criticize her too severely for it; because her only purpose was to induce the people to study the higher laws of life, to raise them up to a higher conception of eternal truth, and teach them to do their own thinking.

She wanted to call the attention of the world by all means to the higher teachings which originated from the adepts, and the phenomena were to her nothing else but the sweets, with which one coaxes the children to come to school and to learn.

It may also be stated that the demands made upon her by ignorant and unspiritual people were often of an incredible absurdity and extremely selfish.

There was one who insisted that she should pray the holy saints of the Himalayas that they should provide that his wife would give birth to a son, another that they should procure him a paying appointment at a government office, another wanted to find a buyer for his house, another a good location for opening a shop for selling cheese, etc., and if such “searchers for truth did not receive a favorable reply, they soon became her enemies and would have nothing to do with the teachings of wisdom.

It is, therefore, not surprising that H. P. B. sometimes amused herself by making fun of such fools. In fact her sense of humor was very great, and one of her objectionable sides was that she loved to make sport even of her best friends. Although she, as far as I know, never had taken any lessons in drawing, she sometimes drew caricatures that were not without artistic value and portraits that were easily recognizable.

One such represents the examination for initiation of a prominent member of the T.S. He is evidently unable to answer the questions asked of him by K. H., and he looks with a wistful eye at a bottle of champagne and a dancing girl, as if he were very loath to abandon the pleasures of this life. An elemental holds a candle, and in the distance is the Master M. and still further on Madame Blavatsky herself sitting upon an elephant.

Already on the first day after my arrival at Adyar I received through Madame Blavatsky an unsought and unexpected test. I went to her room and found her writing. Not wishing to disturb her, I sat down near the window and thought of a lady friend of mine who had died at Galveston some years ago, wondering what had become of her “principles.”

I noticed that Madame Blavatsky turned her paper and seemed to play with with her pencil in a state of absentmindedness with a faraway look. She then handed me the paper. It contained the answer to my question in a drawing, representing the corpse of my friend extended upon the ground and an elemental standing by its side, watcing for the escape of the astral soul, while the passage of her spirit to higher spheres was indicated by a rainbow.

Similar evidences of occult power I often received through H. P. Blavatsky. Sometimes it was direct writing produced by some invisible entity; whole letters wnitten in that way were found in my closed desk; but these phenomena were nothing new to me, as I had seen them often in America. I did not look at them with suspicion of trickery. Trick or no trick was all the same to me, because I was interested only in the contents of the letters and not in the way in which they were written and forwarded to me.

I have seen quite a number of occult phenomena taking place in her presence; but the most surprising of all phenomena was to me the fact that I found myself able to write articles on occult subjects for The Theosophist and to deliver without any previous preparation public lectures which found interested and appreciative audiences in India and afterwards in America, Germany and Italy, although I had never spoken in public before I arrived in India.

Besides myself there were present at the headquarters Colonel H. S. Olcott, the president of the T. S., a very serious-looking Scotchman by the name of W. T. Brown, some Hindu “chelas” (Damodar K. Mavalankar, Bavadjee, Ananda, etc.), supposed to be ‘in possession of extraordinary psychic faculties, and last, but not least, a Frenchman and his wife, Monsieur and Madame Coulomb, who were the managers and housekeepers of the place.

Later on there arrived other visitors, Mr. St. George Lane Fox, W. Q. Judge, Mr. Leadbeater, Mrs. Cooper-Oakley, and others. We also had frequent visits from Mr. Subba Rao, a great occultist and teacher of Madame Blavatsky; but as I am not writing a history of the Theosophical Society of those times, and as Colonel Olcott has considered it prudent not to refer in his DiaryLeaves to that period of my activity at Adyar, I will not enter into details, but merely mention the above-named persons as witnesses of certain important events which took place at that time.

This was the time of “occult letters” supposed to have been written or sent by the “Mahatmas” of the Himalayas. Such letters were seen to form themselves suddenly in the air, or they were found unexpectedly upon the table or in closed drawers, and they contained orders and directions for the management of affairs. I as well as others, received numerous letters of that kind, some written in red ink, others in blue, and some in green. They usually appeared when some advice was needed. The following extracts may serve as an example. The subjoined letter was found in my desk on February 5, 1884, while Colonel Olcott and H. P. Blavatsky were about to sail on a visit to Europe.

Friend! You seem to me the only fully rational being among the Pelengs now left at headquarters. Therefore with an eye to a variety of unexpected emergencies in future which I foresee, I must ask you to show practically your devotion to the cause of truth by accepting the rudder of the theosophical course. If I know anything, I know you to be entirely free from those prejudices and predilections that are generally in the way of a calm and dispassionate pursuit of the chief aim of the Society, full equality among men as brothers and an entire unconcern with the childish fairy tales they call their religion, whether exoteric, or esoteric. If you kindly consent to take care of theosophical interests during the absence of Henry (Olcott) and Upasika (Blavatsky), I will cause him to write you an official letter, investing you with more official power than any other “assistant,” so as to give you a firmer hold of the rod of authority than you would otherwise have with an informal title shared by so many others …. Your pucca authority I ask you to make the best of it in the interests of Truth, Justice and Charity . . . . -M. C. ~

This letter was not received under test conditions, but, as stated above, it was found in my desk, and it may have been put there surreptitiously by Madame Coulomb; but if I had any doubts in regard to the possibility of the “precipitation” of such letters from the astral plane or the formation of physical objects by magical powers, the following incident served to destroy my suspicions.

H. P. Blavatsky started on her voyage to Europe and I accompanied her to Bombay. I went with her on board the steamship and afterwards returned to my room. Before leaving Adyar she had given me a keepsake as coming from the “Mahatma,” a sort of amulet in the shape of a coin with inscriptions in Tibetan letters.

Now while I was alone in my room at Bombay, I paced the floor, thinking of buying a gold chain or something with which to wear that amulet around my neck. Just then the thought struck me that a silk ribbon would answer the same purpose, and as I meditated upon it, something fluttered through the air and fell to the floor before my feet. It was a rose-colored silk ribbon of exactly the required length, with the ends twisted and ready for use. It was not a “phantasm” and did not disappear; for I wore it for many months.

I may, perhaps, here mention some occult phenomena witnessed on this voyage. On one occasion two Yogis came and recited some mantrams.

Their singing seemed to set the spiritual part of the atmosphere in vibration, and the room was soon full of entities of a curious kind, floating through the air like fishes swimming in water. Their forms were indistinct to my view but sufficiently defined to see them change and assume different shapes of animals, such as are not to be found in the natural history of our globe.

On another occasion a fakir took two trumpets and, putting them each on one side of his neck, he gave us a concert. Needless to say, there were no holes in his neck; it must have been a “spiritual breath” from which the sounding originated.

Again, on another occasion I was invited with Mr. St. George Lane Fox and a Mr. Ezekiel to the house of Judge Khandalavala, a Parsee at Poona, to see the performance of a fakir.

The room was large and in the middle of it there was a censer for burning incense, in front of which the fakir took his seat. Before the ceremonies began, the judge asked the fakir whether he would permit him to bring his ladies in the room to see the exhibition.

This the fakir refused, saying that the presence of women would hinder the production of the phenomena.

The judge, however, perhaps supposing this to be a mere prejudice on the part of the fakir, only partly obeyed the injunction, for he placed the ladies in an adjoining room, at a window from which they could see all that was going on without being seen by the fakir, whose back was turned that way.

The fakir began his incantations. He seemed to be unusually excited and was perspiring freely. At last he took a knife and pulling his tongue with his fingers out of his mouth, he cut off a large portion of it. This portion he held over the burning coals, so as to keep it warm, while we examined carefully the remaining stump of his tongue.

There was not a drop of blood but the tongue was certainly cut. After the examination he replaced the cut piece and all was as sound as before, but he refused to proceed with other phenomena, saving that a certain influence was present which abstracted his power to such an extent that he dared not attempt any more.

Now it seems to me that this circumstance is even more satisfactory to prove the genuineness of those phenomena than the examination of the fakir’s mouth, for we all know that women are attractive to men and what they attract from them seem to be the very-elements necessary for the production of magic arts.

Of other phenomena which occurred on this voyage, I will only mention that while I was traveling on the railway with Madame Blavatsky she asked me to show her a manuscript which I had written that morning and which was locked up in my satchel. I took it out and handed it to her. She looked it over without moving her hands, but when she returned it to me, I saw that some-remarks in black writing ink had been added to it in some mysterious way.

I returned to Adyar in company with Mr. Lane Fox, and now dark clouds began to gather over the T. S. Madame Blavatsky had quarreled with Madame Coulomb and wished to send her away.

To this the latter would not submit, and she took sides with the clergy, who made an onslaught upon Madame Blavatsky, accusing her of producing her phenomena by sleight of hand tricks, and as the accused person was absent, the duty to defend her and the Theosophical Society fell upon me, which was the more difficult as newly made trapdoors and hidden recesses evidently constructed by Monsieur Coulomb for the purpose of producing bogus phenomena were actually found, although the newness of these constructions went to show that, they had never been used; and to cap the climax, Mr. Richard Hodgson was at that time sent to Adyar by the “Society for Psychical Research” for the purpose of investigating these phenomena and convincing himself of the existence of the “Mahatmas,” if there were any in existence.

He was, at that time, a great skeptic and unbeliever, although some years afterwards he became a leader of the spiritists in America and a defender of their faith; but at that time he believed nothing except what he was told by Madame Coulomb, who accused Madame Blavatsky of trickery, in which she claimed to have participated herself.

During all this time “occult letters” arrived; they dropped from the ceiling or were found in locked drawers and desks, and in one of these letters dated April 27, 1884, and before any suspicion regarding the genuineness of the phenomena arose, it was said:

For some time the woman (Coulomb) has opened a communication with the enemies of the cause. Hence hints as to trapdoors and tricks. Moreover, when needed, trapdoors will be found, as they have been forthcoming for some time. They (the Coulombs) have full entrance to and control of the premises. Monsieur is clever and cunning at every handicraft, a good mechanic and carpenter and good at walls likewise… -.M C

It seems strange that if Madame Blavatsky (although absent in Europe) should have had anything to do with the writing of this letter and with the making of traps, she would have thus led us upon the scent, but I cannot shake off the conviction that they were made by order of somebody at the headquarters and for the purpose of being used after Colonel Olcott’s return.

Upon receipt of the above letter a search was made and the trapdoors were found and thus the “great exposure” took place, which caused a scandal and made the existence ol the T.S. and the theosophical teachings known all over the world, and the consequence was that thousands procured and read the books of Madame Blavatsky and made themselves acquainted with her views, while otherwise they might have remained in ignorance of these things all their life.

On December 17, 1884, Colonel Olcott and Madame Blavatsky returned from Europe. The attacks upon the latter continued, and she fell very ill.

Towards the end of March her condition became so serious that a consultation of doctors from Madras was called, and they decided that she could not live until the next day.

Upon this Mr. Cooper-Oakley went to Madras the same night to obtain a permit for the cremation of her body, but the next morning Madame Blavatsky arose, feeling quite well. She said that during the night the Master had visited her and given her a new lease of life.

The missionaries all the time were desirous of finding charges against H. P. B., so as to bring her into a Court of Justice, but finding none, they brought charges of calumny against a prominent member of the T. S. (General Morgan), hoping thus to drag Madame Blavatsky as a witness before the Court, in which case she would, undoubtedly, have been fined for contempt, because in view of her uncontrollable temper she would be sure to have given just occasion for it.

To avoid such an unpleasant affair it was considered wise to send her to Europe, and I was asked to take charge of her. We therefore took passage on board the Tibre of the Messageries Maritimes, and on April 11 started with her on a voyage to Naples, accompanied by Mr. Bavadjee and Miss Mary Flynn.

During our voyage there was a continuation of occult phenomena. Frequently piles of sheets with notes referring to H. P. Blavatsky’s writing of the Secret Doctrine were found in the mornings upon her table. Whether she wrote them herself in a somnarnbulic state or whether they were brought to her by some occult means from Tibet, I am unable to say.

On October 23, 1885 we arrived at Naples, where a “drummer” took us to the Hotel. Madame Blavatsky, not feeling quite well, did not wish to ascend many stairs and asked for a room on the ground floor or on the first (meaning only one story higher). Such a one was not to be had, but the manager said he could give us two rooms on the second floor for fifteen francs a day.

We made the bargain, and then the ascent began. First the “Parterre, “ next came the “High Parterre,” then the “ Mezzanin, “ next the “first” and afterwards the “second” floor, which was actually the fifth.

When I went to pay the bill next morning, I found that I had forgotten to make the stipulation with “tutto compreso “ (everything included), for they charged us not only the fifteen francs for the rooms, but also a price for every piece of furniture contained therein, so that the bill amounted to eighty-five francs, not including the meal.

Of course there was nothing else to be done, but to grumble and pay.

We immediately left Naples and found more hospitable quarters at the Hotel Vesuvio at Torre del Greco, where we remained for one month. Madame Blavatsky’s temper during that time was not of the sweetest; she was continually irritated by letters concerning the scandals, she scolded the servants, and abused her friends or praised them according to her changeable moods. The weather was cold, and to see the fires of Vesuvius, that was in eruption, glow at a distance while we had no stoves was somewhat provoking.

After some weeks had passed away Madame Blavatsky went to Warburg and I to Kempten (Bavaria) to visit my relatives and have a look at the place where I spent my youth. For my friends and acquaintances there of old I looked in vain but I found their names in great numbers inscribed upon the tombstones of the cemetery.

Subsequently I visited Madame Blavatsky repeatedly at Wurzburg and in London where she died on May 8, 1891, after a short illness and half an hour after her physician had declared her to be out of danger.

She remained a riddle to everybody up to the last. I was at that time far away in Austria, but during the night following her death I had a symbolical dream, indicating that event and was therefore not surprised when, some days afterwards, I received its confirmation by letter. The vision was an eagle returning to its home in the sky.

My intention was to return to America. I had become tired of “theosophy,” which, owing to the position which I occupied in the Society, consisted in defeating the attacks of its enemies, disputing with missionaries and quarreling with psychic researchers.

I longed for peace, for the solitude of the prairies of Texas, where one feels so strongly the presence of the Infinite, and for the sublimity of the peaks of the Rocky Mountains, that seem to lift us above the worthless things of this life and to bring us nearer to Heaven.

I was almost ready to leave, when, owing to a concatenation of circumstances, too long to briefly explain, I made the acquaintance of an occultist who was the leader of a small body of real Rosicrucians.

When he first entered my room I at once recognized his face as one which I had seen in a vision on the night of January 1, 1884, while lying half awake on my couch at Adyar.

It seemed to me at that time that a large serpent, the symbol of wisdom, was coiled up at the side of my bed, with its head erect, looking sternly at me, and that head was the head of the man I met, and I knew that a ray of wisdom would come to me by his aid. I remained at Kempten, and he introduced me to his friends. I attended their meetings, became one of his disciples and followed his instructions for many years. These people did not call themselves “Rosicrucians,” but they were nevertheless such in fact. They were not learned people, but for the greater part weavers in a factory, where they had to work from early till late at a very poor salary.

The two leaders were not even able to read or to write, and nevertheless they seemed to know the very mysteries contained in the books of the mystics and in the writings of H. P. Blavatsky.

They knew these things, not from hearsay but by interior revelation, and their teaching did not consist in giving information of what other people had taught or even of what they had experienced themselves, but in showing the way to the direct perception of truth and preparing oneself to receive this revelation within.

They rarely answered questions to satisfy curiosity, but they asked questions on which one had to meditate and find the answer oneself, and the guidance took place not so much by any external means or verbal advice, as by symbolic visions seen during dreams or in a state of meditation, or even by signs and letters appearing visibly upon the skin, for the state of the soul expresses itself in forms and images, and if we learn to read these pictures correctly we may know the state of our interior condition and act so as to improve it accordingly, just as a gardener, who, by watching his plants, knows what he ought to cultivate and what cut away.

Thus a higher and more interior state of consciousness began gradually to dawn within my mind like the dawn that appears on the sky before the rising of the sun, revealing the beauties of a higher state of existence.

I found that it is far more important to find the real Master and Guide within one’s own soul than to seek to gratify one’s curiosity to know all about the Masters in Tibet, and that it is far more valuable to help to create a heaven within one’s own mind than to be informed of what is said to have taken place at the time when our world was created or how the old Lemurians and Atlanteans lived, however interesting and amusing and even instructive such information may be.

These “Rosicrucians” did not seek for notoriety, nor did they wish to catch members; they wished to remain unknown and avoided publicity.

I remained in contact with their leader until he died, and many of the truths contained in the numerous books which I have written were made clear to me by his guidance.

To give a detailed account of the teachings thus received would require not only a long article but a whole book, and the mystic language in which many of these communications were given would be like some of the writings of Jacob Boehme, Jane Leade and others incomprehensible for many readers; because such teachings deal with internal verities and not with outward facts known to every one, and unless one has experienced the beauties of the higher and interior life they are beyond the grasp of the mortal mind.

We all live a dream life, and we cannot know the reality unless we awaken to a consciousness of its existence in us. To bring these higher truths nearer to the understanding of the human mind is the object which I had in view in writing my books.

During these times I wrote several books in English and, having received offers from a German publisher in Leipzig, I edited a German Theosophical monthly journal, Lotusblüten, which continued for eight years and is about to be revived.

It was, at that time, the first and only Theosophical journal in Germany and there was only one Theosophical Society; but after the death of H. P. Blavatsky, dissensions arose within that society between the leaders, and parties were formed, whose mode of fighting each other went to show that mutual tolerance, to say nothing about “universal brotherhood” was still difficult to attain.

One of these parties elected me President of the T. S. in Germany, but seeing a strongly sectarian spirit prevail, I resigned soon after. I advocated the formation of free and independent Theosophical Societies in Germany without any president.

Numerous such societies were formed, but they were not left in peace by those who claimed to be the “only genuine and original ones,” and the quarrels continued all the same, because wherever there is an organization there are also self-interests, which must be taken care of and defended, and there is still much imperfection in human nature even among those who are called “Theosophists.”

But whatever the fate of the “Theosophical Societies,” may be, the theosophical movement inaugurated by H. P. Blavatsky goes on.

People in different countries taking up some bits of those teachings have built systems upon it and given it a new name and obtained thousands of followers; many appropriating such bits have perverted the teachings, made them a means of financial profits and desecrated divine truth by trying to make superior spiritual powers serviceable to inferior material purposes, thus opening the door to “black magic” and its deplorable consequences; but the powers of light cannot move without stirring the powers of darkness.

Misfortunes are said to be blessings in disguise, and all that leads mankind to a higher experience however evil it may be for the individual, may be good for the progress of humanity as a whole.

The fact that the stars in the sky cannot be dragged down to our earth for the purpose of examination, and that one must himself grow up to a higher plane if he wants to realize its ideals, is still an incomprehensible mystery to many who claim to be seekers of truth.

Some philosopher said that “it is doubtful whether the proclaiming of a new truth has ever done so much good as its misunderstanding has produced harm.” Unripe fruits are difficult to digest, and what may be wholesome food for one may be poison for another.

There are so many who try to make the second step in occultism without making the first they jump and fall into the ditch. I have a long list of people with whom I was personally acquainted and who became victims of their curiosity to learn occult practices and to use them for their own purposes, while they were not yet ripe to understand them correctly, and I feel sorry for the great multitude of people who are misled and sent to their ruin by blind teachers leading the blind.

It is not without just reason that in olden times the revelation of certain secrets of occultism was punished by death because the more a thing may be put to a good use, the more it is liable to be misused and to do mischief. Intellectual and scientific progress ought to be always accompanied by a corresponding development of the moral faculties.

Divine things ought not to be touched with unclean hands. Selfish desires and thoughts are the greatest obstacles to the perception of truth.

The illusion of “self’ is the shadow -which is in our way of meeting the light of the real self, and therefore the first requisite in every religion and in every school of occult science is purification, i.e. the rising above the illusion of that “self ‘which is the product of our own imagination.

The secrets of occultism will always be secrets to those who are not able to grasp them, but as these things at the present time are proclaimed from the housetops it will be better to throw light upon them than to be silent because “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”

A warning in time will often be useful, and if we cannot demonstrate to everybody’s satisfaction what the truth actually is, we may at least indicate what it is not, and for this purpose I propose to continue the work to which I have been called by another power than my own.

Those who wish to obtain divine powers for the purpose of employing them for material and selfish purposes; be it for gaining money, for the sake of ambition, or even for the gratification of their scientific curiosity, are on the same level of intelligence with those religious hypocrites who try to press the Divinity into their service by exhortations, persuasion and prayers.

Divine powers belong to the spiritual inner man and ought not to be misused. “He who degrades these powers degrades himself.” This is the secret referred to in the Bible (I Corinthians xi. 29).

All this, however, is not to be understood as if we were forbidden to search for the still undiscovered laws of Nature and employ them to our service.

If we knew all of these laws and would obey them, there would be an end of poverty, crime and disease.

If we were to realize what life really is, and what the ultimate purpose of our existence in this world, we could employ the laws of life, and heaven would descend upon the earth.

All the forces of Nature are at our command, we only need to discover them, and by their discovery humanity may rise to an altitude of which we at present have no conception.

A real occultist is not a dreamer, and my pursuits of occult science have not prevented my studying natural laws, but they have helped me to make an important discovery of a gaseous chemical compound for inhalation which has already done great service for the cure of lung diseases, including that plague of humanity popularly called consumption.’ See “The Health Record” of October, 1907.

All ills result originally from ignorance of our own higher nature and the laws of life, and there is no remedy against ignorance except the attainment of knowledge. To aid in the search for that knowledge and to spread it is my object and that of the OCCULT REVIEW.

I always had a peculiar liking for the spirits of Nature, especially for the gnomes and the water nymphs. Some of my experiences with the gnomes I have embodied in my book An Adventure among the Rosicruclans, which was published at Boston, Mass., and some of those with the gnomes were mentioned in another entitled Among the Gnomes of the Untersberg, published by T. Fisher Unwin (London).

Both of these books are now out of print. I am not a “medium,” and my clairvoyant powers are very limited.

Nevertheless I am quite convinced that these spirits of Nature have real existence, as real as ours, although the conditions of their existence are difficult for us to understand. It seems that their element is the ether of space, the etheric part of water and of the earth.

The gnomes pass as easily through the most solid rocks as we move through air, but it seems that they cannot pass through water, nor the nymphs through the earth.

The interior of mountains and rocks is not dark for the gnomes; the sunlight comes to them just as the Roentgen rays penetrate solid flesh. The gnomes are mostly little, about two feet high; the nymphs and undines have often very perfect human forms, but can change them at will.

I have for eight years been living at Hallein near Salzburg in Austria, in the vicinity of the Untersberg; which has a great reputation on account of the stories that circulate about its being inhabited by the gnomes, although within the last few years these spirits seem to have retired on account of the turmoil caused by the advance of modern civilization, for in those places where formerly was reigning solitude and peace there are now fashionable hotels and inns where the revels of tourists break the stillness of the night, the beautiful alpine flowers are exterminated by greedy hands, the engine of the railway renders the air smoky and impure, mid the ideality of the scenery is evermore giving way to an aspect of materiality caused by business enterprises, breweries stone quarries, etc. What wonder if the peaceloving spirits flee or hide themselves away!

A great many interesting stories about the doings of the gnomes might be gathered among the peasants of that country, but one would have first to gain their confidence, because they are very reticent to speak of such things to strangers, whom, they suppose, inquire only for the purpose of gratifying an idle curiosity and afterwards throw ridicule upon the subject.

The gnomes seem to be a pious people, because they have often been seen, especially on certain nights in the year, passing in procession into some solitary church and chapel and holding service there. Persons coming on such occasions near the building would find the windows illuminated by a light coming from the interior and they would hear chorales sung within; but when they went for the parson to get the keys to the place and entered, everything became at once dark and still and the gnomes disappeared.

What seems to me most incredible is that human children have suddenly disappeared in a mysterious way and after some days been brought back sound and well and smiling to their homes claiming that they had been taken care of by a beautiful little lady.

There is also a story of a boy who was taken by the gnomes into the Untersberg and remained there for sometime. After his return he gave an account of his experiences to the priest in the confessional, and the priest published as much of it as he was permitted to reveal.