[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]

Re: Theos-World Steve, can you clarify this statement?

Dec 14, 2001 02:28 PM
by Steve Stubbs

Hi, Daniel:

Well, I don't want to sound like Richard Nixon since I
am not a Publican, let alone a Republican, but I think
I made myself perfectly clear already. (I am making
the "V" sign with both hands as I write this.)

In a case such as the Ootan Liatto story YOU, Daniel
H. Caldwell, posted, internal evidence in that story
and others by the same author (i.e., Olcott), as well
as internal evidence in various writings by Blavatsky,
indicate that there was a botanical component to some
of these phenomena. I don't see how anyone can deny
that and remain honest in his treatment of the
material. Statements by Rawson, Woolf, Coleman,
Deveney, Godwin, and many, many others simply
corroborate what Blavatsky and Olcott have written
with their own pens. The question is not whether or
not to believe Woolf but whether or not to believe
Blavatsky and Olcott. That one is going to be hard
for the Fundamentalists to wiggle out of. That said,
it is clear that some of the visual hallucinations
described by Wachtmeister, who wandered around in a
cloud of Blavatsky's second hand hashish smoke, would
have to be attributed to such a cause. The conditions
under which the phenomena were observed and reported
disqualify them as scientific evidence. We can say
that these things happened, but we cannot say for sure
whether or not they occurred by "paranormal" means or
contained any "paranormal" component.

I think it is plain this has nothing to do with buried
dishes, floating silverware, your personal excursions
out of body, etc.

Daniel: Steve, please give us your opinion of the
following Franz Hartmann experience. [Hartmann yarn

Well, I don't know if it is supernatural or not, but I
do know it could not be considered scientific evidence
of supernatural ability. Here is what is said to have

(1) Hartmann poses a question to Blavatsky

(2) Blavatsky tells him not to expect an answer
immediately but to think about it long enough for
someone to prepare a "phenomenon,"

(3) An unidentified woman comes into the room and cues
Hartmann where to go to find the master letter,

(4) Hartmann goes there and voila! There it is.

Not very mysterious. The fact that the letter was so
long proves it was written beforehand, whether by a
mahatma or by Blavatsky herself. No matter how it was
delivered it was aurely written before the fact. The
person writing it must therefore have observed
Hartmann closely and discerned what would be on his
mind. Someone thousands of miles away would not have
been able to do that. At the appropriate
psychological moment the already writtten letter was

The historical problem is not whether some
Fundamentalst believes in supernatural phenomena or
not, but whether a specific alleged phenomenon was
produced under conditions which would exclude
chicanery as a plausible alternative explanation. 
That is not to say that the phenomenon WAS produced by
chicanery, but if chicanery is a plausible
explanation, then the story is not evidence of
anything. The question of whether or not something
"paranormal" could or could not happen would remain
open if this were the only evidence.

In the Hartmann story, it is possible Blavatsky
believed she was writing down the thoughts of a
distant Tibetan teacher. If she was in fact doing so,
then that would be paranormal, since people do not
normally do that, and therefore doing that would be,
not normal, but para normal. I is of course
impossible to evaluate this belief of hers as a
historical matter. There is nothing else in this
story which is anything but normal. Hartmann's powers
of observation in this case (reaching into a drawer
without looking, pulling out an object, and only then
noticing that a letter had been planted there a few
minutes earlier for him to find) might be subnormal,
but paranormal it was not.

Incidentally, you are writing about dead people. Only
Sylvia Cranston, known to her erstwhile admirers as
"Silly Sylvy", can do that. We have already been
instructed on that point as you know.


--- danielhcaldwell <> wrote:
> Steve, you wrote:
> "According to internal evidence in their own
> statements, there was smoking going on in
> Philadelphia
> and New York. And it wasn't a pack of Lucky Strikes
> that they were smoking, either, folks. People who
> smoke a pack of Luckies don't see flowers coming out
> of the walls and a dozen pencils where there is only
> one. No, ladies and gentlemen, I submit that this
> was
> a different brand of smokes than one could get from
> just any old cigar store in those days."
> So are you telling us Steve that you do not believe
> that genuine 
> paranormal phenomena was performed by Madame
> Blavatsky and her 
> teachers?
> Are you telling us Steve that you don't believe HPB
> could 
> have "materialized" a dozen pencils from one pencil?
> That instead,
> it must have been a hallucination of Olcott's caused
> by Blavatsky's 
> smoke?
> If this is your thinking on the subject, then I
> guess you don't 
> believe Blavatsky genuinely materialized an extra
> cup and saucer at 
> the Sinnett picnic?
> Are you actually trying to tell us that you don't
> believe HPB did any 
> genuine physical paranormal phenomena? Brigitte
> appears to be a 
> skeptic of HPB's psychic powers. Where do you stand
> on the subject?
> Daniel H. Caldwell
> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to

Do You Yahoo!?
Check out Yahoo! Shopping and Yahoo! Auctions for all of
your unique holiday gifts! Buy at
or bid at

[Back to Top]

Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application