1997: Notes on Madame Blavatsky’s Baboon

By W. T. S. Thackara [Reprinted from Theosophic History (6:8), October 1997, pp. 309-15, with additional material.] Madame Blavatsky’s Baboon: Theosophy and the Emergence of the Western Guru, by Peter Washington, London: Secker & Warburg, 1993; ISBN 0-436-56418-1, notes, bibliography, index, cloth, 480 pages. (1995 American edition subtitled: A History of the Mystics, Mediums, and Misfits Who Brought Spiritualism to America) PETER WASHINGTON is the General Editor of the Everyman Library and the author of several books including Fraud: Literary Theory and the End of English. He is a professor of English and European Literature at Middlesex University and a reviewer and critic for The London Evening Standard and The Independent. Editor’s Comments (Theosophical History, October 1997, pp. 272-3): W. T. S. Thackara’s “Notes on Madame Blavatsky’s Baboon” by Peter Washington is not so much a book review as a remedial essay. When Madame Blavatsky’s Baboon first appeared in […] Read More

Mr. A. Lillie’s Delusions

I write to rectify the many mistakes – if they are, indeed, only “mistakes” – in Mr. Lillie’s last letter that appeared in Light of August 2nd, in answer to the Observations on his pamphlet by the President of the London Lodge. 1. This letter, in which the author of Buddha and Early Buddhism proposed to     Consider briefly some of the notable omissions made in the “Observations,” begins with two most notable assertions concerning myself, which are entirely false, and which the author had not the slightest right to make. He says:     For fourteen years (1860 to 1874) Madame Blavatsky was an avowed Spiritualist, controlled by a spirit called “John King” . . . she attended many séances. But this would hardly prove anyone to be a Spiritualist, and, moreover, all these assertions are entirely false. I say the word and underline it, for the facts in them are […] Read More