refutation of charges against
H. P. Blavatsky
H.P. Blavatsky has received more than one person's fair share of libel
and slander. Worse, the same untruths have often been repeated for a century
- with no reference to their refutation.
The fundamental reason for this situation is that she brought truths
that differed from, and therefore offended, established views in religion,
science, and the spiritualism of her day. In addition, in some cases,
single individuals became more or less close to this teaching in HPB's
day and then found a reason to part company e.g. offended vanity, not
receiving training in psychic powers, etc. In keeping with human nature,
some of those who left declared themselves to be enemies of HPB - in direct
but opposite proportion to the closeness they had achieved.
Two defamations of HPB have done the most damage, and, apparently unbeknownst
to some biographers of HPB, both have been retracted after her death.
The most famous defamation of HPB was a report prepared by Richard Hodgson
for the Society for Psychical Research, (SPR), and released in
December of 1885. Central to the conclusion of that report was an analysis
of some handwriting samples.
However, the April 1986 issue of the Journal of SPR - on the one hundredth
anniversary of the original article - published an effective retraction
of the charges against HPB. In that issue Dr. Vernon Harrison, "a
long-standing member of the SPR" wrote that the handwriting samples
upon which the first report was based were "so
weak, partisan, and confused, that it might just as easily show that Madame
Blavatsky wrote Huckleberry Finn - or that President Eisenhower
wrote the Mahatma Letters."
The second famous defamation of HPB was a lengthy article that appeared
in 1890 in The New York Sun, one of the leading newspapers in
the United States. It had been written by Elliott Coues, an otherwise
accomplished individual who had been denied the leadership of the American
Section of the Theosophical Society by HPB - and later expelled for cause
from that organization. As one veteran newspaperman remembered it, the
Sun article brought together "every calumny that could be
imagined or raked up from the ends of the earth."
Two lawsuits were brought on behalf of HPB, one against Coues and the
other against the Sun. HPB died before the case came to trial
- therefore the case became moot and the newspaper did not need to defend
itself. Nevertheless the Sun voluntarily
retracted the article on September 26, 1892 saying:
We print on another page an article in which Mr. WILLIAM Q. JUDGE deals
with the romantic and extraordinary career of the late Madame HELENA
P. BLAVATSKY. We take occasion to observe that on July 20, 1890, we
into admitting into THE SUN's columns an article
by Dr. E. F. COUES of Washington, in which allegation were made against
Madame BLAVATSKY's character, and also against her followers, which
appear to have been without solid foundation
. Mr. JUDGE'S article disposes of all questions relating
to Madame BLAVATSKY as presented by Dr. COUES, and we desire to say
that his allegations respecting the Theosophical Society and Mr. JUDGE
personally are not sustained by evidence and
should not have been printed.
These incidents and others have been dealt with at greater length in
Sylvia Cranston's biography:
H.P.B.: The Extraordinary Life and Influence of Helena
Blavatsky, Founder of the Modern Theosophical Movement.
In the opinion of Blavatsky Net those biographies of Blavatsky that indulge
in the charges against her without mentioning the retractions of those
charges, should themselves be retracted.
New books are still being printed that denigrate Blavatsky and manufacture
yet new charges against her. Perhaps it is a measure of her worth and
the profundity of the revolution she started, that her books are still
in print and she is still worth villifying a century later. The tedious
task of reviewing some of these new books and pointing out their errors
has been undertaken by some and the results can be found on the refutation
page at this site.
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