Charles Johnston

Charles Johnston, writer, journalist, scholar; classmate, friend and collaborator with William Butler Yeats, with whom he co-founded the Dublin Hermetic Society (along with George William Russell).

External references

  • — “Soon after his enrollment, Charley met another new student, a 'lanky youth, with shaggy black hair,' named William Butler Yeats. The two boys would become fast friends. 'Some instinct drew us together,' Yeats would later say. 'Willie Yeats and I gravitated together,' Charley would confirm. They bonded over a shared interest in science, and enjoyed experimenting 'in physics, chemistry, and electricity, with some homemade contrivances,' to varying degrees of success. '[Yeats] was a rabid Darwinian,' Charley would say, 'and, like all new proselytes, longed for a convert; and I, as his school chum, was the natural prey.' Charley was more sympathetic of spiritual matters.”
  • Susan Johnston Graf, Heterodox Religions in Ireland: Theosophy, the Hermetic Society, and the Castle of Heroes — “story begins in 1884 when Charles Johnston, the son of the fanatical Orange MP William Johnston of Ballykilbeg, read A. P. Sinnett's The Occult World and then Sinnett's more influential work, Esoteric Buddhism. … Two weeks after Johnston joined the Hermetic Society, he travelled to London to meet A. P. Sinnett and Madame Blavatsky.”


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