[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
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 Haven.
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 Eddy homestead?
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
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
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 away.
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.