Spiritualism and Theosophy
- Published: Friday, 13 March 2015 18:25
[Based on the article in the Theosophical Encyclopedia, by Richard W. Brooks]
By the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the Spiritualist movement, which began in the United States, had spread throughout the world. [For further information about the history of Spiritualism, see the article on “Psychical Research”.] There were many noted — and many fraudulent — mediums practicing in the U.S. Two who get no mention at all in the literature of psychical research or parapsychology were the brothers William and Horatio Eddy, who owned a farm in Chittenden, Vermont, where they held nightly séances. These séances came to the attention of Henry Steel Olcott (1832-1907) while he was working for a New York newspaper, the Daily Graphic, now defunct. Olcott, who expressed an interest in Spiritualist phenomena, requested the editor of his newspaper to send him to Chittenden to investigate. The results of that investigation were published in his book, People from the Other World (1875) and clearly establish Olcott as a careful, objective, and ingenious investigator. More important, it was there, late in the morning of October 14, 1874, that Olcott first met Madame Helena P. Blavatsky (1831-1891), who had been sent to Chittenden on the directions of her Master.