Portrait of Madame Blavatsky resized


No Religion Higher Than Truth

SPR Conclusion

Rebuttal to Hodgson Report – Conclusion
Published in Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, April 1986:


I have concentrated on the handwriting aspect of the Hodgson Report, partly because it forms a major part of his thesis and I am here playing on my home ground, but more importantly because everything I have stated can be checked independently. We do not have to rely on the testimony of long-dead witnesses. The witness here – and an eloquent one – is the Hodgson Report itself.

As detailed examination of this Report proceeds, one becomes more and more aware that, whereas Hodgson was prepared to use any evidence, however trivial or questionable, to implicate HPB, he ignored all evidence that could be used in her favour. His report is riddled with slanted statements, conjecture advanced as fact or probable fact, uncorroborated testimony of unnamed witnesses, selection of evidence and downright falsity. As an investigator, Hodgson is weighed in the balances and found wanting. His case against Madame H. P. Blavatsky is not proven.

I cannot exonerate the SPR committee from blame for publishing this thoroughly bad report. They seem to have done little more than rubber-stamp Hodgson’s opinions; and no serious attempt was made to check his findings or even to read his report critically. If they had done so, its errors of procedure, its inconsistencies, its faulty reasoning and bias, its hostility towards the subject and its contempt for the ‘native’ and other witnesses, would have become apparent; and the case would have been referred back for further study. Madame H. P. Blavatsky was the most important occultist ever to appear before the SPR for investigation; and never was opportunity so wasted. Nor can I exonerate the quondam Council of the Theosophical Society for their failure to allow their founder fair defense. They seemed concerned only with saving their own reputations. Whether she was impostor or not, HPB was entitled to a fair hearing. She never had it. Had she been allowed the legal and expert help she begged for, both Hodgson and the Society for Psychical Research would have been in dire trouble. It is a thing most wonderful that Hodgson was able so completely to bamboozle, not only Netherelift and Mr. Sims of the British Museum, but also men and women of the calibre of Myers, Gurney and Mrs. Sidgwick-not to mention several generations of psychical researchers since the 1885 Report was published. On 14 January 1886, Madame Blavatsky wrote:

‘That Mr. Hodgson’s elaborate but misdirected inquiries, his affected precision, which spends infinite patience over trifles and is blind to facts of importance, his contradictory reasoning and his manifold incapacity to deal with such problems as those he endeavoured to solve, will be exposed by other writers in due course – I make no doubt.’

I apologize to her that it has taken us one hundred years to demonstrate that she wrote truly.

Vernon Harrison

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