Portrait of Madame Blavatsky resized


No Religion Higher Than Truth

Horus Behdety 2

Tell-Tale Picture Gallery

By Helena P. Blavatsky and William Q. Judge

“Lead the life necessary for the acquisition of such knowledge and power, and Wisdom will come to you naturally. Whenever you are able to attune your consciousness to any of the seven chords of  ‘Universal Consciousness,’ those chords that run along the sounding-board of Kosmos, vibrating from one Eternity to another; when you have studied thoroughly ‘the music of the Spheres,’ then only will you become quite free to share your thoughts with those with whom it is safe to do so. Meanwhile, be prudent. Do not give out the great Truths that are the inheritance of the future Races, to our present generation. Do not attempt to unveil the secret of being an non-being to those unable to see the hidden meaning of Apollo’s HEPTA-CHORD—the lyre of the radiant go,, in each of the seven strings of which dwelleth the Spirit, Soul and Astral body of the Kosmos, whose shell only has now fallen into the hands of Modern Science…Be prudent we say, prudent and wise, and above all take care what those who learn from you believe in; lest by deceiving themselves they deceive others…for such is the fate of every truth with which mean are, as yet, unfamiliar.

From the Secret Doctrine, Vol 1., page 167

Introduction to the Bombay, India Edition 

Nearly a hundred years ago, the attention, particularly of the Western world, was partially aroused to consider the possibility of hidden psychic forces latent in men. And as we approach the midway point of the Twentieth Century, it is natural that we should expect a growing public interest in the experiments in psychology, hypnotism, mediumship, occult and spiritistic phenomena, etc. Unfortunately our modern civilization has paid scant attention to the hard-earned lessons of past civilizations. Blinded by self-conceit and self-opinionatedness, we blunder on and on making needless mistakes and errors. Now fiction plays an unique part in the life of this social chaos we call civilization. In other eras poetry exerted the greatest influence; and later the essay was used to right wrongs and initiate reforms. Today not only does the story entertain, or is used indirectly and sparingly, to point to social ills; it also informs and educates millions of readers, who will learn only through entertainment. 

It is natural to expect that psychical science, the occult arts and Occultism will be more and more used as bases for fiction. Unfortunately with such few exceptions as the writings of H. P. Blavatsky, W. Q. Judge, R. L. Stevenson and Bulwer-Lytton, most writers in this field fail to do full justice to the important items of psychic science they handle. Many go to modern psychology, some to psycho-analysis, a few to psychical research. Most authors do not care to look for knowledge to Eastern Wisdom and the Esoteric Philosophy; they are prejudiced against both. Whatever influence or instruction of Pure Occultism they have imbibed, has been indirect and unconscious.

The range of occult fiction is large—from true insight to jumbled cerebration. There are stories which are mere fanciful speculations without any basis of knowledge. Fortunately these mislead only a few. then there are the pot-boilers founded on the shifting sands of scientific theories and hypotheses. These are but poor aids to knowledge and real instruction.  

But there are quite a number of stories rooted in pseudo-occultism—stories about astral wanderings, etc., which are more or less innocuous. Some are however positively dangerous, e.g., love-making with invisible brides and bridegrooms, the seeking of invisible soul-mates and so on. The grand conceptions of Reincarnation and the endless justice of the Law of Karma, have been belittled to the clap trap plots of lower personality incarnations-Cleopatra now living as Mrs. Jones of Napoleon and Mr. Smith. Lack of real knowledge produces grotesque results. 

For earnest thinkers and painstaking pen-men the field of the Occult is open. They need to equip themselves with accurate knowledge of both the principles and the details of psychic science. The master-Occultists of the 19th century, H. P. Blavatsky sparingly used the story as a means of popularizing and conveying some of the profound truths of Occultism. We reprint a number of her stories as well as those of her colleague W. G. Judge. For in the form of their fiction will be found entertainment for those who wish to be merely amused and for the discerning, many hints and much illumination together with grave warning against occult dabbling.

There was some difficulty in finding a suitable Title for these stories of the Psyche and the Nous in man. The Editors finally chose The Tell-Tale Picture Gallery, as generally indicative of the book’s contents. The reader will find it is also a title of one of Mr. Judge’s striking stories, who was therefore originally responsible for its coining.


This Appendix appeared at the end of the book by the Editors of the Bombay India Edition. We added it here so that the student can read, and understand the tie-in these Occult Stories have to Theosophical Principles.

The Editors would be shirking their responsibility if they did not remind the readers of the foregoing tales, that however entertaining and enthralling they may have seemed, neither H. P. Blavatsky nor W. Q. Judge wrote them with that as the end in view. H.P. B.’s purpose was that each of her stories illustrated, “some one phase of that misconceived but important science, Psychology.” It is our sincere belief that W. Q. J.’s tales may be considered in the same light with complete confidence. The development of man’s intuitive perception has to be fostered in the present stage of the world’s evolution. Earnest enquirers who are not already acquainted with the 10 Items of Oriental Psychology to be found in Isis Unveiled by H. P. Blavatsky will be interested to compare them as given hereunder, with the many points of occultism raised in these narratives. 

Proposition of Psychology 
Ten Items from “Isis Unveiled.”

To comprehend the principles of natural law involved in the several phenomena hereinafter described, the reader must keep in mind the fundamental proposition of the Oriental Philosophy which we have successively elucidated. Let us recapitulate very briefly: 

  1. There is no miracle. Everything that happens is the result of law—eternal, immutable, ever active. Apparent miracle is but the operation of forces antagonistic to what Dr. W. B. Carpenter, F.R.S. —a man of great learning but little knowledge—calls “the well-ascertained laws of nature.” Like many of his class, Dr. Carpenter ignores the fact that there may be laws once “known,” now unknown to science.
  2. Nature is triune: there is a visible, objective nature; and invisible, indwelling, energizing nature, the exact model of the other, and its vial principle; and above these two, spirit, source of all forces, alone eternal, and indestructible. The lower two constantly change; the higher third does not.
  3. Man is also triune: he has his objective, physical body; his vitalizing astral body (or soul), the real man; and these two are brooded over and illuminated by the third—the sovereign, the immortal spirit. When the real man succeeds in merging himself with the latter, he becomes an immortal entity.
  4. Magic, as a science, is the knowledge of these principles, and of the way by which the omniscience and omnipotence of the spirit and its control over nature’s forces may be acquired by the individual while still in the body. Magic, as an art, is the application of this knowledge in practice,
  5. Arcane knowledge misapplied, is sorcery; beneficently used, true magic or WISDOM.
  6. Mediumship is the opposite of adeptship; the medium is the passive instrument of foreign influences, the adept actively controls himself and all inferior potencies.
  7. All things that ever were, that are, or that will be, having their record upon the astral light, or tablet of the unseen universe, the initiated adept, by using the vision of his own spirit, can know all that has been known or can be known.
  8. Races of man differ in spiritual gifts as in colour, stature, or any other external quality; among some peoples seership naturally prevails, among others mediumship. Some are addicted to sorcery, and transmit its secret rules of practice from generation, with a range of psychical phenomena, more or less wide, as a result.
  9. One phase of magical skill is the voluntary and conscious withdrawal of the inner man (astral form) from the outer man (physical body). In the cases of some mediums withdrawal occurs, but it is unconscious and involuntary. With the latter the body is more or less cataleptic at such times; but with the adept the absence of the astral form would not be noticed, for the physical senses are alert, and the individual appears only as though in a fit of abstraction—” a brown study,” as some call it.
  10. The corner-stone of MAGIC is an intimate practical knowledge of magnetism and electricity, their qualities, correlations, and potencies. Especially necessary is a familiarity with their effects in and upon the animal kingdom and man.

To sum up all in a few words, MAGIC is spiritual WISDOM; nature, the material ally, pupil and servant of the magician. One common vital principle pervades all things, and this is controllable by the perfected human will.