A new publication May 16, 2017 is out on the The Hodgson-Coulomb case titled Madame Blavatsky: The Case for Her Defense Against the Hodgson-Coulomb Attack by Walter A. Carrithers, Jr. (1924-1994). It is due to the Hodgson-Coulomb case, David Reigle stated, that scholars do not take Helena Blavatsky, and therefore Theosophy seriously, because it was generally accepted she was proved a fraud. The original report of Richard Hodgson, published by the Society for Psychical Research, London, in December 1885, and later examined by Dr. Vernon Harrison. Dr. Vernon Harrison’s examination questioned the validity of the case, and was published by the Society for Psychical Research, in their Journal for April 1986. This was addressed in Theosophical History: Challenging Old Research and Libel.
“After years spent in world travel pursuing occult mysteries, H.P. Blavatsky (1831-91) helped found the Theosophical Society in 1875 at New York City. From her pen came THE SECRET DOCTRINE & other writings. At her death, she had come to be recognized as one of the most dynamic & controversial women of her time. In 1884, the Society for Psychical Research in London became interested in the psychic wonders & claims of Blavatsky. A committee to investigate these claims was formed. In 1885, they branded Blavatsky “one of the most accomplished, ingenious and interesting impostors in history.” Was the Committee’s verdict justified by the facts of the case? Walter Carrithers’ detailed re-examination of the historical record shows that their verdict was NOT justified. Mr. Carrithers draws mainly upon the reports of Richard Hodgson, the Committee’s chief investigator. Mr. Carrithers gives readers a comprehensive analysis of the Blavatsky-Coulomb letters & Mahatma letters as well as of other important matters.” (Madame Blavatsky: The Case for Her Defense Against the Hodgson-Coulomb Attack, Amazon)
According to the review of others, Walter A. Carrithers, Jr. establishes that the cases and investigator lacked integrity, and he well settles the issue. Walter A. Carrithers was a Theosophical historian, writer and commercial artist of Fresno, California. He was actually a member of the Society for Psychical Research in London, a student of astrology (won an award winning essay, Reappraising Astrological Concepts, Old and New), and wrote for many journals over the years. He authored two books in defence of Helena P. Blavatsky, The Truth about Madame Blavatsky (1947) and Obituary: The Hodgson Report on Madame Blavatsky (1963). Walter A. Carrithers is the founder of The Blavatsky Foundation in 1966 for the public, and has received appraisal for his defences by Leslie Price, Christmas Humphreys, and N. Sri Ram.
On more of a funny note, the bohemian Helena P. Blavatsky didn’t think of herself as an ever-curtseying polite “Madame,” stating:
“My present business is to take the ‘Gazette’ to task for thrusting upon my unwilling republican head the Baronial coronet. Know please, once for all, that I am neither ‘Countess’, ‘Princess’, not even a modest ‘Baroness’, whatever I may have been before last July. At that time I became a plain citizen of the U.S. of America – a title I value far more than any that could be conferred on me by King or Emperor (…).” (Helena P. Blavatsky, A Republican Citizen, The Banner of Light, May 13th, 1879)
H.P.B. did not mince words, as her teachers addressed A.P. Sinnett, on the fact that advanced disciples are trained in truthfulness and sincerity. They found the Western culture of politeness (pre-political correctness) stifling (To A Lay Disciple On What It Means To Be Truthful And Honest). Imagine today! H.P.B. didn’t like to be called “Madame.”
“That I never was Madame Metrovitch or even Madame Blavatsky is something, the proofs of which I will carry to my grave – and it’s no one’s business.” (Helena P. Blavatsky, The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to A.P. Sinnett, Letter no. 60, Wurzburg, April)
H.P.B.’s student Walter R. Old in London described the way he was personally received by her when they first met. She said to Walter:
“No, I will not be called Madame, not by my best friend, there was nothing said of that when I was christened, and if you please I will be simply H.P.B.” (Walter R. Old, In Memory of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, TPS, London, 1891)
It was this attitude of truthfulness, that she railed against the religious establishments. Repeating the line from John 7:16, H.P.B. said, “my doctrine is not my own, but Theirs who sent me” addressing the fact that Clemens Alexandrinus defined the Gnostic, or the one holding that knowledge of the ancestral Theosophy or Gnosis, as “the enlightened or perfect Christian.” It was the wisdom taught by Apollonius of Tyana and the Jesus of the New Testament alike.
“But if the Gnostics were destroyed, the Gnosis, based on the secret science of sciences still lives. (…) medieval Christianity, the great usurper and assassin of the great master’s doctrine. The ancient Kabbala, the Gnosis, or traditional secret knowledge, was never without its representatives in any age or country.” (Helena P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled)
Although the case of the Hodgson-Coulomb attack is old, it goes a long way in vindicating the THEOSOPHICAL CAUSE and reigniting it.
If you liked this article, read Constance Wachtmeister’s account of the day H.P.B. read the Hodgson Report. H.P.B. was pretty distraught.
Another case solved on Accusations of Plagiarism: