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HPB on the cup & saucer phenomenon & its relationship to Theosophy

Jul 01, 2004 08:24 AM
by Daniel H. Caldwell

In the following extract, H.P. Blavatsky writes about 
the cup & saucer phenomenon, her other experiments in 
occult phenomena & their relationship to Theosophy:


. . . when I have once allowed my name to appear in 
the light of a benevolent genius, for the production 
of "cups," "saucers" and "brooches," I must bear the 
penalty; especially when the people are so foolish 
as to take the word "Magic" either in its popular 
superstitious sense  that of the work of the devil 
 or in that of jugglery. . . . 

Being neither a professional medium nor a professional 
anything, and MAKING MY EXPERIMENTS in "Occult 
phenomena" only in the presence of a few friends  
rarely before anyone who is not a member of our 
Society  I have a right to claim from the public 
a little more fairness and politeness than are 
usually accorded to paid jugglers and even alleged 
Thaumaturgists. . . . 

...Theosophy believes in no miracle, whether divine 
or devilish; recognizes nothing as supernatural; 
believes only in facts and Science; studies the 
laws of Nature, both Occult and patent; and gives 
attention particularly to the former, just because 
exact Science will have nothing to do with them.

Such laws are those of Magnetism in all its branches, Mesmerism, 
Psychology, etc. More than once in the history of its past has 
Science been made the victim of its own delusions as to its professed 
infallibility; and the time must come when the perfection of Asiatic 
Psychology and its knowledge of the forces of the invisible world 
will be recognized, as were the circulation of the blood, 
electricity, and so forth, after the first sneers and lampoons died 
away. The "silly attempts to hoodwink individuals" will then be 
viewed as honest attempts at proving to this generation of 
Spiritualists and believers in past " miracle-mongers," that there is 
naught miraculous in this world of Matter and Spirit, of visible 
results and invisible causes. . . . 

I beg leave to further remark that personally I never bragged of 
anything I might have done, nor do I offer any explanation of the 
phenomena, except to utterly disclaim the possession of any 
miraculous or supernatural powers, or the performing of anything by 
jugglery  i.e., with the usual help of confederates and
machinery. That's all. And surely, if there is anything like a
sense of justice left in society, I am amenable to neither statutory 
nor social laws for gratifying the interest of members of our 
Society, and the wishes of my personal friends, by exhibiting to them 
in privacy various phenomena, in which I believe far more firmly than 

...Of the five eye-witnesses to the "cup" production, three (two 
of these of the "official circle") utterly disbelieve the genuineness 
of the phenomenon, though I would be pleased to know how, with all 
their scepticism, they would be able to account for it. ... The only 
benefit I have ever derived from my experiments, when made public, is 
newspaper abuse and more or less unfavourable comments upon my 
unfortunate self all over the country. This, unless my convictions 
were strong indeed, would amount to obtaining Billingsgate and 
martyrdom under false pretences, and begging a reputation for 
insanity. The game would hardly be worth the candle, I think.


Amritzur, Oct. 25th, 1880. 

Excerpted from:



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