[The following letter was addressed to a contemporary journal by Mme.
Blavatsky, and was handed to us for publication in The Daily Graphic,
as we have been taking the lead in the discussion of the curious subject
of Spiritualism-EDITOR "DAILY GRAPHIC."]
AWARE in the past of your love of justice and fair
play, I most earnestly solicit the use of your columns to reply to an
article by Dr. G. M. Beard in relation to the Eddy family in Vermont.
He, in denouncing them and their spiritual manifestations in a most sweeping
declaration, would aim a blow at the entire spiritual world of to-day.
His letter appeared this morning (October 27th). Dr. George M. Beard has
for the last few weeks assumed the part of the "roaring lion"
seeking for a medium "to devour." It appears that to-day the
learned gentleman is more hungry than ever. No wonder, after the failure
he has experienced with Mr. Brown, the "mind-reader," at New
I do not know Dr. Beard personally, nor do I care to know how far he
is entitled to wear the laurels of his profession as an M. D., but what
I do know is that he may never hope to equal, much less to surpass, such
men and savants as Crookes, Wallace, or even Flammarion, the French
astronomer, all of whom have devoted years to the investigation of Spiritualism.
All of them came to the conclusion that, supposing even the well-known
phenomenon of the materialization of spirits did not prove the identity
of the persons whom they purported to represent, it was not, at all events,
the work of mortal hands; still less was it a fraud.
Now to the Eddys. Dozens of visitors have remained there for weeks and
even for months; not a single séance has taken place without
some of them realizing the personal presence of a friend, a relative,
a mother, father, or dear departed child. But lo! here comes Dr. Beard,
stops less than two days, applies his powerful electrical battery, under
which the spirit does not even wink or flinch, closely examines the cabinet
(in which he finds nothing), and then turns his back and declares most
emphatically "that he wishes it to be perfectly understood that if
his scientific name ever appears in connection with the Eddy family, it
must be only to expose them as the greatest frauds who cannot do even
good trickery." Consummatum est! Spiritualism is defunct. Requiescat in pace! Dr. Beard has killed it with one word. Scatter
ashes over your venerable but silly heads, O Crookes, Wallace and Varley!
Henceforth you must be considered as demented, psychologized lunatics,
and so must it be with the many thousands of Spiritualists who have seen
and talked with their friends and relatives departed, recognizing them
at Moravia, at the Eddys', and elsewhere throughout the length and breadth
of this continent. But is there no escape from the horns of this dilemma?
Yea verily, Dr. Beard writes thus: "When your correspondent returns
to New York I will teach him on any convenient evening how to do all that
the Eddys do." Pray why should a Daily Graphic reporter be
the only one selected by G. M. Beard, M. D. for initiation into the knowledge
of so clever a "trick"? In such a case why not publicly denounce
this universal trickery, and so benefit the whole world? But Dr. Beard
seems to be as partial in his selections as he is clever in detecting
the said tricks. Didn't the learned doctor say to Colonel Olcott while
at the Eddys' that three dollars' worth of second-hand drapery would be
enough for him to show how to materialize all the spirits that visit the
To this I reply, backed as I am by the testimony of hundreds of reliable
witnesses, that all the wardrobe of Niblo's Theatre would not suffice
to attire the numbers of "spirits" that emerge night after night
from an empty little closet.
Let Dr. Beard rise and explain the following fact if he can: I remained
fourteen days at the Eddys'. In that short period of time I saw and recognized
fully, out of 119 apparitions, seven "spirits." I admit that
I was the only one to recognize them, the rest of the audience not having
been with me in my numerous travels throughout the East, but their various
dresses and costumes were plainly seen and closely examined by all.
The first was a Georgian boy, dressed in the historical Caucasian attire,
the picture of whom will shortly appear in The Daily Graphic. I
recognized and questioned him in Georgian upon circumstances known only
to myself. I was understood and answered. Requested by me in his mother
tongue (upon the whispered suggestion of Colonel Olcott) to play the Lezguinka,
a Circassian dance, he did so immediately upon the guitar.
SecondA little old man appears. He is dressed as Persian merchants
generally are. His dress is perfect as a national costume. Everything
is in its right place, down to the "babouches" that are off
his feet, he stepping out in his stockings. He speaks his name in a loud
whisper. It is "Hassan Aga," an old man whom I and my family
have known for twenty years at Tiflis. He says, half in Georgian and half
in Persian, that he has got a "big secret to tell me," and comes
at three different times, vainly seeking to finish his sentence.
ThirdA man of gigantic stature comes forth, dressed in the picturesque
attire of the warriors of Kurdistan. He does not speak, but bows in the
oriental fashion, and lifts up his spear ornamented with bright-coloured
feathers, shaking it in token of welcome. I recognize him immediately
as Jaffar Ali Bek, a young chief of a tribe of Kurds, who used to accompany
me in my trips around Ararat in Armenia on horseback, and who on one occasion
saved my life. More, he bends to the ground as though picking up a handful
of mould, and scattering it around, presses his hand to his bosom, a gesture
familiar only to the tribes of the Kurdistan.
FourthA Circassian comes out. I can imagine myself at Tiflis, so
perfect is his costume of "nouker" (a man who either runs before
or behind one on horseback). This one speaks more, he corrects his name,
which I pronounced wrongly on recognizing him, and when I repeat it he
bows, smiling, and says in the purest guttural Tartar, which sounds so
familiar to my ear, "Tchoch yachtchi" (all right), and goes
FifthAn old woman appears with Russian headgear. She comes out
and addresses me in Russian, calling me by an endearing term that she
used in my childhood. I recognize an old servant of my family, a nurse
of my sister.
SixthA large powerful negro next appears on the platform. His head
is ornamented with a wonderful coiffure something like horns wound
about with white and gold. His looks are familiar to me, but I do not
at first recollect where I have seen him. Very soon he begins to make
some vivacious gestures, and his mimicry helps me to recognize him at
a glance. It is a conjurer from Central Africa. He grins and disappears.
Seventh and lastA large, grey-haired gentleman comes out attired
in the conventional suit of black. The Russian decoration of St. Ann hangs
suspended by a large red moiré ribbon with two black stripes-a
ribbon, as every Russian will know, belonging to the said decoration.
This ribbon is worn around his neck. I feel faint, for I think I recognize
my father. But the latter was a great deal taller. In my excitement I
address him in English, and ask him: "Are you my father?" He
shakes his head in the negative, and answers as plainly as any mortal
man can speak, and in Russian, "No; I am your uncle." The word
"diadia" was heard and remembered by all the audience. It means
"uncle." But what of that? Dr. Beard knows it to be but a pitiful
trick, and we must submit in silence. People that know me know that I
am far from being credulous. Though an Occultist of many years' standing,
I am more sceptical in receiving evidence from paid mediums than many
unbelievers. But when I receive such evidences as I received at the Eddys',
I feel bound on my honour, and under the penalty of confessing myself
a moral coward, to defend the mediums, as well as the thousands of my
brother and sister Spiritualists against the conceit and slander of one
man who has nothing and no one to back him in his assertions. I now hereby
finally and publicly challenge Dr. Beard to the amount of $500 to produce
before a public audience and under the same conditions the manifestations
herein attested, or failing this, to bear the ignominious consequences
of his proposed exposé.
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
124, East Sixteenth Street, New York City,
October 27th, 1874.