Published by Blavatsky Study Center. Online Edition copyright 2004.

Henry Kiddle and the Mahatma;
or, H. K. versus K.H.

An Important Chapter in the History of the Psychical
Phenomena of the Nineteenth Century.

(Now first consecutively presented in narrative form.)

By William Emmette Coleman.

[This extremely rare article was originally published in 1890-1891 in 10 consecutive monthly issues of The Carrier Dove, a spiritualistic magazine issued in San Francisco, California. For bibliographic details on the article, see Note 1.  For this reprint, all material quoted from other authors by Mr. Coleman has been indented; also a few of Coleman's lengthy paragraphs have been broken up for readability.  Coleman quotes and refers to many articles on "the Kiddle Incident"; most of this material can be found in our archives. --- BA editor.]


The psychical phenomena of the nineteenth century range themselves under two general classes, --- those of Modern Spiritualism and those of theosophy, the latter being in some respects a divergent offshoot of the former. The subject matter of this narrative is one that is connected with both Spiritualism and theosophy, and I bespeak the reader’s careful attention thereto in all its details. I think it will be found of interest.

In the entire history of the modern theosophic movement, extending from 1875 to the present time, there is, in my opinion, no one episode of more surpassing import, than that which may be appropriately called "the Kiddle Plagiarism." A complete account of this episode, with its various points consecutively presented, has never been published; and believing such to be a desideratum of moment, the following sketch of this incident, and of its results has been prepared, as a not unimportant contribution to the history of that peculiar phase of thought, the outcome of one determined woman’s persistent efforts, that the nineteenth century has seen evolved under the name of theosophy. The details of the "Kiddle Plagiarism" are scattered about in a number of periodicals and books, published in India, England, and America. From these I have outlined this narrative; and it is probable that, after it perusal, my readers may see the force of my remark that the series of facts involved in this one matter, in my judgment, demonstrates in a distinct and positive manner the real character of the alleged teachings of the mahatmas or adepts of Tibet, the source of these teachings, the existence or non-existence of the said mahatmas, and the true nature of the foundations upon which the whole structure of theosophy rests. I fail to see how any candid, impartial, judicial mind can calmly and rationally consider the evidence presented, --- nearly all of which is derived from theosophic sources, and the truth of which is beyond question, --- and not regard the truth or falsity of the claims of theosophy as permanently settled.

In June, 1881, Mr. A. P. Sinnett published in London the first edition of a book called "The Occult World." In 1885 there was published in Boston the second American, from the fourth English edition, with corrections and additions. The pagination is exactly the same in the original London and the last American edition, --- each edition following the other, line for line and page for page. In this book, if I mistake not, the world was for the first time introduced to the now notorious Koot Hoomi Lal Singh, the alleged Tibetan mahatma, the supposed inspiring guide of Madame H. P. Blavatsky, the founder of theosophy. Mr. Sinnett published in this work a number of letters received by him and claiming to be written by the said Koot Hoomi. On pages 148-150 there is printed a long passage from a certain one of these Koot Hoomi letters to Mr. Sinnett.

In the London Spiritualistic Journal, Light, for September 1, 1883, there was published a letter from Mr. Henry Kiddle, the well-know Spiritualist, dated New York, August 11, 1883. In this letter Mr. Kiddle, among other things says, ---

"On reading Mr. Sinnett’s ‘Occult World,’ more than a year ago, I was very greatly surprised to find in one of the letters presented by Mr. Sinnett as having been transmitted to him, in the mysterious manner described, a passage taken almost verbatim from an address on Spiritualism by me at Lake Pleasant, in August, 1880, and published the same month by the Banner of Light. As Mr. Sinnett’s book did not appear till a considerable time afterwards (about a year, I think), it is certain that I did not quote, consciously or unconsciously, from its pages. How, then, did it get into Koot Hoomi’s mysterious letter? I sent to Mr. Sinnett a letter through his publishers, enclosing the printed pages of my address, with the part used by Koot Hoomi marked upon it, and asked for an explanation, for I wondered that so great a sage as Koot Hoomi should need to borrow any thing from so humble a student of spiritual things as myself. As yet I have received no reply; and the query has been suggested to my mind. --- Is Koot Hoomi a myth? or, if not, is he so great an adept as to have impressed my mind with his thoughts and words while I was preparing my address?"  

The passage in the letter in "The Occult World" referred to by Mr. Kiddle as almost identical with a portion of his printed address on Spiritualism, is that I have mentioned above as being found on pp. 148-150 of the first English and the second American edition of Mr. Sinnett’s book. In the third English edition it begins on page 102.

The following are the passages referred to, printed in succession for the sake of ready reference.

Extract from Mr. Kiddle’s discourse entitled "The present Outlook of Spiritualism" at Lake Pleasant Camp Meeting on Sunday, Aug. 15, 1880.

My friends, ideas rule the world; and as men’s minds receive new ideas, laying aside the old and effete, the world advances. Society rests upon them; mighty revolutions spring from them; institutions crumble before their onward march. It is just as impossible to resist their influx, when the time comes, as to stay the progress of the tide.

And the agency called Spiritualism is bringing a new set of ideas on the most momentous subjects, touching man’s true position in the universe; his origin and destiny; the relation of the mortal to the immortal; of the temporary to the Eternal; of the finite to the Infinite; of man’s deathless soul to the material universe in which it now dwells --- ideas larger, more general, more comprehensive, recognizing more fully the universal reign of law as the expression of the Divine will, unchanging and unchangeable, in regard to which there is only an Eternal Now, while to mortals time is past or future, as related to their finite existence on this material plane, etc., etc.

Extract from Koot Hoomi’s letter to Mr. Sinnett, in the "Occult World," 3rd Edition, p. 102. The first edition was published in June, 1881.

Ideas rule the world; and as men’s minds receive new ideas, laying aside the old and effete, the world will advance, mighty revolutions will spring from them, creeds and even powers will crumble before their onward march, crushed by their irresistible force.

It will be just as impossible to resist their influence when the time comes as to stay the progress of the tide. But all this will come gradually on, and before it comes we have a duty set before us; that of sweeping away as much as possible the dross left to us by our pious forefathers. New ideas have to be planted on clean places, for these ideas touch upon the most momentous subjects.

It is not physical phenomena, but these universal ideas that we study; as to comprehend the former, we have first to understand the latter. They touch man’s true position in the universe in relation to his previous and future births, his origin and ultimate destiny; the relation of the mortal to the immortal, of the temporary to the Eternal, of the finite to the Infinite, ideas larger, grander, more comprehensive, recognizing the eternal reign of immutable law, unchanging and unchangeable, --- in regard to which there is only an ETERNAL NOW; while to uninitiated mortals time is past or future, as related to their finite existence on this material speck of dirt, etc., etc.

In reply to Mr. Kiddle’s letter, as above, in Light, Mr. Sinnett published a statement in Light of September 22, 1883, in which he professed ignorance of ever having received the letter of inquiry that Mr. Kiddle said he had sent him. Mr. Sinnett also in the same article spoke of the matter as a "trivial" one, as being "rather out of date now," and as a "merely ridiculous incident."

It should here be noted that in the Koot Hoomi letter, as published in "The Occult World," the remark, "Plato was right," immediately precedes the beginning of the passage parallel with that in Mr. Kiddle’s address, as printed in Mr. Kiddle’s letter in Light; the mahatma letter therefore read, "Plato was right. Ideas rule the world, etc., etc." This sentence, "Plato was right," Mr. Kiddle did not include in his publication of the parallel passages, there being nothing in his address corresponding thereto. These facts concerning this Platonic sentence should be borne in mind in connection with the criticisms made upon Mr. Kiddle and his address by prominent theosophists, consequent upon the publication of Mr. Kiddle’s letter in Light.

In the Religio-Philosophical Journal, of Chicago, in December, 1883, or January, 1884, Mr. Wm. Q. Judge, the present President of the American Branch of the Theosophical Society, and the editor of The Path, the American theosophic monthly, published an article in criticism of this alleged plagiarism from Mr. Kiddle by Koot Hoomi. In defense of Koot Hoomi, Mr. Judge advanced the following:

"1.—It is not proven that Mr. Kiddle was the first to use the form of words adverted to.

2.—"It is an idea which has been common property for a long time, and has been used, in nearly identical words by others before Kiddle. Can Mr. Kiddle claim that ‘Ideas rule the world,’ is an expression original with that gentleman? Is the clause, ‘It is just as impossible to resist their influx when the time comes as to stay the progress of the tide,’ also new with Kiddle? I think not. These very ideas and sentences I have used myself often before 1880, and have heard others use them.

"In the inaugural address before the Theosophical Society; Nov. 17, 1875 (in print), the same ideas, inspired by Koot Hoomi, may be found. In July, 1880, a circular was written and printed in India for distribution through the Theosophical Society. It arrived here before Mr. Kiddle’s lecture was reported, and contains among other things, this: ‘Individuals count as nothing; the idea we represent is everything. Though an entire branch of the Society should be obliterated. . . this idea which has been set before the century would run through its entire career and work out its legitimate results.’

"Here is the same proposition in slightly different language, but neither author can be accused of plagiarism.

"Again, Mr. Editor, let me make the declaration that I knew of, and heard from, Koot Hoomi in New York in the beginning of 1875 to date, and have often heard the declaration contained in the Kiddle lecture repeated by Koot Hoomi orally and in writing, just five years before Mr. Kiddle’s lecture."

The insufficiency of this defense, even though it was literally true in every particular, is apparent to every reader. Because the thought or sentiment that "ideas rule the world" is not original with Mr. Kiddle and may be paraphrased in other writings, or even in the alleged language of Koot Hoomi previous to Mr. Kiddle’s address, that is no explanation of the fact that a continuous passage of twenty-seven printed lines of Mr. Sinnett’s book, received by him from Koot Hoomi, is almost word for word identical with a passage in Mr. Kiddle’s printed lecture. It is not the mere similarity of ideas that need explanation; it is the verbal identity of language running through the twenty-seven printed lines. It is evident that Mr. Judge has given his imagination full swing in his citations of the alleged use by Koot Hoomi of similar ideas and language to those of Mr. Kiddle. His statement that in the inaugural address before the Theosophical Society, November 17, 1875, similar ideas to those of Mr. Kiddle are found, is untrue. I have a copy of that address, and a careful search thereof fails to reveal anything in it at all resembling the remarks of Mr. Kiddle. The claim that this 1875 address was inspired by Koot Hoomi is equally false. The address was delivered by Col. Olcott, and its contents attest it to be the Colonel’s own composition. It has never before been claimed, so far as I am aware, that the writings of Col. Olcott were or are inspired by any mahatma; and as Koot Hoomi has never been the Colonel’s special mahatma-guru, another alleged mahatma named Morya having always been claimed as Olcott’s guru (teacher), it follows necessarily that if any one "inspired" the inaugural address in 1875, it must have been Morya, not Koot Hoomi. It seems that in order to have it appear that Koot Hoomi used the ideas in Mr. Kiddle’s lecture long before they were uttered by Mr. Kiddle, Mr. Judge, in his usual reckless and inaccurate manner, made the positive assertion that they were contained in the 1875 address (prudently omitting any reference to Col. Olcott as the author of the address), which address, he added, was inspired by Koot Hoomi, --- both assertions being alike devoid of foundation. Not content with this, in order to still further make it appear that Koot Hoomi had voiced these ideas long before Mr. Kiddle had, Mr. Judge went so far as to assert that he had often heard the declaration in Mr. Kiddle’s lecture repeated by Koot Hoomi orally and in writing just five years before Mr. Kiddle’s lecture, --- that is in the autumn of 1875. As Madame Blavatsky and Col. Olcott founded the Theosophic Society Nov. 17, 1875, Mr. Judge must have often heard Koot Hoomi orally and in writing just prior to the foundation of the Society. I can understand how he might have heard K. H. orally, but I am at a loss to conceive how he could have heard him in writing. If I mistake not, the name Koot Hoomi was not heard of in the world until after the arrival of Blavatsky and Olcott in India. Occasional brief visits of one or more alleged adepts to Blavatsky, Olcott, and Co., in America, have been asserted; but that Koot Hoomi was a familiar visiting acquaintance of Mr. Judge in 1875, and was in the habit both of talking and writing to him and others about "Ideas ruling the world" is not credible. Moreover, Mr. Judge’s assertion that not only has he heard Koot Hoomi and others use the "very ideas and sentences" contained in Mr. Kiddle’s lecture, but that he himself (Mr. Judge) has often used them before 1880, is, undoubtedly, as much a work of imagination, as are his statements about the inaugural address and Koot Hoomi. It should be specially noted that the whole of Mr. Judge’s remarks is devoted to establishing that the letter to Mr. Sinnett from Koot Hoomi was written by the mahatma entirely independent of and with no reference to the address of Mr. Kiddle. It is also insinuated by Mr. Judge, though not asserted in so many words, that in place of Koot Hoomi having plagiarized from Kiddle, the latter Mr. Kiddle, has plagiarized from Koot Hoomi.


In Light, November 10, 1883, Mr. W. T. Brown, F. T. S., published a rejoinder to Mr. Kiddle’s letter. It should here be noted; (1) that at that time Mr. Brown who was then in India, was positively assured of the existence of Koot Hoomi, of whom he was a chela, and of the bona fides of Madame Blavatsky in her assertions concerning the mahatmas and the writings alleged to have proceeded from them; and (2) that since then Mr. Brown has become firmly convinced that Koot Hoomi was a myth and that he was cunningly deceived by the Madame and others. He has recently published an expose of the frauds practised upon him and others, entitled "The Shrine of Koot Hoomi." In his critique of Mr. Kiddle in 1883, Mr. Brown said,

"Mr. Kiddle will not, I am sure, maintain that the ideas in his excerpts are original and are placed by him for the first time before an attentive world. Our master puts the same idea before us (in pretty much the same words, it is true), but refers, beforehand, to a gentleman of the name of Plato. The sentences to which Mr. Kiddle lays claim are found among a number of others bearing on the subject, but the latter are not, so far as we have heard, to be found in any discourse delivered at Mount (sic) Pleasant or elsewhere. Whence come they? is the query which arises. [The answer to this query will appear in the sequel.] . . . The explanation is occult, and deals with an essence known as ‘astral light.’ Our master has, no doubt, seen the idea, and, being tired. . . has written or impressed it hurriedly without regard to the feelings of Mr. Kiddle on the one hand or of Plato on the other . . . The absence of knowledge on the part of Mr. Kiddle is assuredly his loss --- not ours."

In this case we again have insinuation, though not positive assertion, that Mr. Kiddle is the plagiarist instead of Koot Hoomi. Mr. Judge insinuated that Mr. Kiddle plagiarized from Koot Hoomi; Mr. Brown insinuates that Mr. Kiddle plagiarized from Plato. In Mr. Kiddle’s reply to Mr. Brown, dated Nov. 21, 1883, is found the following:

"Mr. Brown says conjecturally, 'Our master has, no doubt, seen the idea [how about the words?] and being tired has written or impressed it hurriedly without regard to the feelings of Mr. Kiddle on the one hand or of Plato on the other.' Beautiful childlike faith! But does this satisfy the keen intellect of an occultist? If the master was too tired to avoid copying without quotation points, how is it that his mind was so active in adapting the passage to Occultism, while it was meant for Spiritualism? And why did he interject the remark about Plato, attributing to that ancient philosopher what he was copying from my address? I humbly request Mr. Sinnett, Mr. Brown, or Koot Hoomi himself, to show me by definite citation that the passage referred to was written by Plato. I certainly did not translate it from any of his words. . . . It [the truth] is very ‘occult,’ I am told; ‘it deals with an essence known as "astral light."’ Oh! And then I am somewhat impertinently (not pertinently, I mean) informed that ‘the absence of knowledge on the part of Mr. Kiddle is assuredly his loss.’ Yes, but when I find my property in the possession of another person it seems like adding insult to injury to be told, ‘You are an ignorant fellow, else you would know where and how I got it, and that you have no rightful claim to it. Don’t charge me with stealing, but look to my friend and accomplice Astral Light.’"

Simple insinuation, as above, that Mr. Kiddle had been guilty of plagiarism, was quickly followed by direct and circumstantial charges of plagiarism made against that gentleman by prominent theosophists. A letter from Mrs. Ellen H. Morgan, F. T. S., written from the headquarters of the Theosophical Society, Adyar, Madras, India, was published in the London Medium and Daybreak, January 4, 1884. In this letter, Mrs. Morgan charged Mr. Kiddle as "disingenuously passing off the saying, ‘Ideas rule the world,’ as his own, when in reality it comes from Plato." To sustain this assertion, she made several quotations from Plato, in none of which was found the saying of Mr. Kiddle ascribed to Plato; though, of course, as Mr. Kiddle said, in reply to Mrs. Morgan, Plato "expresses the influence and importance of ideas." Commenting upon the letters of Mrs. Morgan et al., Mr. Kiddle in the Medium and Daybreak of April 18, 1884, in a letter written by him, January 18, 1884, remarks as follows:---

"I . . . have merely asked for an explanation of this curious phenomenon; and lo! a storm has been raised. The ‘elementary spirits’ seem to be driven here and there, and their earthly representatives get into a state of excitement quite phenomenal in chelas, or disciples of ‘white magic,’ which, it is claimed, raises the minds of mortals to the serene heights of pure soul life, far above the agitations of vulgar, earthly passion. The explanation, meanwhile, is not forthcoming; but instead thereof a violent accusation of plagiarism and ‘disingenuousness’ against me. If I were disposed to become a follower of Satan (the accuser) and to recriminate, I might point to the obvious disingenuousness of representing the whole matter copied to consist of a single short sentence, when, in fact, it was a whole page; and, moreover, of quoting a few sentences from Plato’s Dialogues expressing thoughts or propositions that have but a remote or indirect bearing on the statements which I am charged with stealing; and then triumphantly asserting that Koot Hoomi (or whoever it was) was right in inserting the words before my statement, ‘Plato was right.’ I have not verified the passages given from Plato; but if these are all that can be found after diligently exploring his works, evidently Koot Hoomi was wrong, in artfully appending Plato’s great name to the passage in question."

In The Theosophist, published at Madras, by Madame Blavatsky, for December-January, 1883-84, were various articles bearing upon the Kiddle-Koot Hoomi matter. Conspicuous among them was one by Major-General H. R. Morgan, F. T. S., dated Ootacamund, Nov. 2, 1883, in which he makes quotations from Plato similar to those in Mrs. Morgan’s letter in the Medium and Daybreak; and remarks,

"When the ideas, if not the very sentences, can be proved Plato’s, then who is the greater ‘plagiarist’ of the two, Mr. Sinnett’s correspondent or Mr. Kiddle? The former, who shews the sentences to be if not quotations at least not his own ideas, or the latter who throws them into the ears of his audience without tracing them by one word to their original source? The most that could be said is, that the Mahatma attributed to Plato that which belonged to Kiddle, doing thereby the last-named individual an honor that he certainly deserves very little, Inspector or Director of Public Instruction though he be. The significant fact that Mr. Kiddle in Light carefully omits the introductory words, --- "Plato is right" --- is more than suspicious; it shows deliberate malice on its very face. . . Would our great Master but permit us . . . the world of sceptics and scoffers would be shown whether men possessed of such wonderful knowledge have any occasion to resort to plagiarism from unknown and very indifferent lecturers. As for Mr. Kiddle, it is to be hoped he reads the Theosophist, and may see these lines, when perhaps he may find it was his guiding spirit that induced him to palm off on his audience indifferently constructed sentences of Plato’s ideas, for his own. . . . Louis Napoleon in making war on Italy declared it was only France that went to war for an ‘idea.’ Probably he also plagiarized from Plato. Does Mr. Kiddle think, he alone is to have a monopoly of ‘ideas’? It is too absurd!" (Supplement to the Theosophist, Dec. --- Jan. 1883-83, pp. 30 and 31).

The reader will, of course, notice the depreciatory and insulting manner in which General Morgan refers to Mr. Kiddle. Not only does he charge him with plagiarism and "deliberate malice," but he stigmatizes him as an "unknown and very indifferent lecturer," who "palms off on his audiences indifferently constructed sentences of Plato’s ideas." The author of this unjust attack on Mr. Kiddle, General Morgan, may appropriately be termed the Thos. R. Hazard of theosophy. Originally a Spiritualist, he became converted to theosophy, in which latter cause he has ever been noted for his extreme credulity and his pugnacious "vindication" a la Hazard of the genuineness of all the questionable phenomena attributed to the mahatmas and Madame Blavatsky, coupled with violent abuse of those reflecting in any manner upon the purity, truth, and honesty of Mme. B. He it was who, after examination, denounced as forgeries all the letters of Mme. Blavatsky to the Coulombs, which the latter produced in evidence of the fraudulent character of the mahatmic manifestations; although other more competent and impartial authorities have pronounced them genuine. He it was who brought suit against the Coulombs for slander of Mme. Blavatsky; but as the case appears never to have been tried, it is probable that the astute Mme. B. succeeded in getting the doughty, irascible General to withdraw the action, the Madame, for prudential considerations, having no desire for a legal sifting of the incriminating evidence against her. The General is evidently so biased and prejudiced, so deficient in judgment and critical acumen, that his evidence in any test case is absolutely valueless. (2)

On pages 86, 87, of the same number of The Theosophist, there is an article headed "Happy Mr. Henry Kiddle’s Discovery," by T. Subba Row. Mr. Row is said to be the ablest Sanskritist connected with theosophy, and for some time he was, first, assistant editor, and then the virtual editor, of The Theosophist. It will be noted that the very name of Mr. Row’s article contains a sneer at Mr. Kiddle. Among other things Mr. Row says:

"So far as the leading idea in the passage is concerned, if anybody has committed literary theft it is the complainant himself and not the accused. I find no reference to Plato in the passages quoted from Mr. Kiddle’s lecture in his letter published in ‘Light,’ and the complainant has very prudently omitted the reference to the Greek philosopher that precedes the passages which he reproduced from the Mahatma’s letter."

In a foot-note to this, Madame Blavatsky herself states that there is also no reference to Plato in Mr. Kiddle’s lecture at Lake Pleasant, "for we have procured (?) and carefully read it." Mme. Blavatsky here sanctions the imputations made by her assistant, Mr. Row, of plagiarism from Plato by Mr. Kiddle. Mr. Row then continues:

"There seems to be nothing very sublime in the language used by Mr. Kiddle in the passage under consideration;" and again: "It seems to me that even the word ‘idea’ has been used in two different senses by the Mahatma and Mr. Kiddle respectively. The former means by the word ‘idea’ the original form or type according to which the objective manifestation takes place. And this is Plato’s meaning which the Spiritualistic lecturer has not properly understood. Mr. Kiddle, on the other hand, uses the same word in the sense it is ordinarily used by English writers." "The Mahatma against whom the accusation has been brought, will, of course, think it beneath his dignity to offer an explanation in his own defence to Mr. Kiddle or his followers or supporters."

In the same Theosophist (pages 69, 70) Madame Blavatsky, in the opening editorial, has something to say on the Kiddle incident, in which she alludes to "Mr. Kiddle’s fancied expose of Mr. Sinnett’s ‘Guru’ --- who stands accused of having ‘appropriated’ some stray sentences from a lecture by that new convert to Spiritualism!!" and she refers to "the utter absurdity of the whole accusation, in whatever way and from whatsoever stand-point one may look at it." "To suspect," says she, "the writer of such letters, the Teacher of such a grand system of philosophy. . . of plagiarizing a few stray sentences from a very indifferent lecture, remarkable for nothing but its correct English, is an insanely absurd improbability." Speaking of the many chances of detection of the "parallel passages" if they were copied as alleged from Mr. Kiddle’s speech in the Banner of Light, she says, "It is preposterous, therefore, to connect such insane actions with any one outside a lunatic asylum."

In reply to this it may be said, (1) that this alleged "insane" action was really done, and (2), that the chances that any of the few friends of Mr. Sinnett, to whom he might show some of the many letters he was receiving from Koot Hoomi, would ever discern any connection between a small portion of a lecture of Mr. Kiddle’s published in the Banner of Light and one of his (Mr. S.’s) mahatmic letters, were infinitesimally small; and the truth of this has been attested by the facts of the case. It appears that no friend of Mr. Sinnett ever did discern the plagiarism; and that, even after the publication of Mr. Sinnett’s book, in which the plagiarized passages occur, no one ever found out the plagiarism except Mr. Kiddle himself. It is very probable that when the alleged Koot Hoomi letter containing the Kiddle plagiarism was written to Mr. Sinnett, the writer had no thought that Mr. Sinnett would ever publish to the world that letter.

I find in the same Theosophist a letter from Colonel H. S. Olcott, President of the Theosophical Society, to the Editor of Light, dated Adyar, Sept. 27, 1883, in which the Colonel says,

"Surely my friend forgets himself . . . when he finds in the appearance of a few unquoted and unimportant sentences from Mr. Kiddle, in the ‘Occult World,’ any warrant for such jealous nagging. . . . I do not undertake to explain the Kiddle mystery at all, nor do I think it of much consequence. It is highly absurd to think that a mind capable of reducing to expression in a foreign tongue so lofty a scheme of evolution as that in Esoteric Buddhism, would be driven to fish in Mr. Kiddle’s journal."

We have seen in what a sneering, insulting, and depreciatory manner these leading lights in theosophy have referred to Mr. Kiddle. For simply stating the facts and asking an explanation thereof, he is abused, traduced, scoffed at, and his literary abilities belittled and sneered at; "the head and front" of the Theosophical Society have, one and all, treated him shamefully and scandalously, --- exemplifying in a signal manner the sublime principles of altruism and brotherly love which are said to be the foundation-stones of the to-be-builded theosophical temple. "Real Theosophy," says Mme. Blavatsky, in Lucifer, May, 1889, "is Altruism, and we cannot repeat it too often. It is brotherly love, mutual help, unswerving devotion to the truth."

In a second article [see below] I shall include the explanations given by Koot Hoomi and others as to the reason for the similarity between Mr. Kiddle’s lecture-passages and the letter in Mr. Sinnett’s work, together with the later developments in the matter and their bearing upon said explanations. The most interesting and conclusive part of this exposition is yet to be presented.



To understand the explanations that have been given us of the causes of the resemblance between Mr. Kiddle’s lecture at Lake Pleasant and the Koot Hoomi letter in Mr. Sinnett’s work, it is necessary that comprehension be had of the alleged manner of production of the letters from the Mahatma. In the letter of Col. Olcott, published in the Theosophist, December-January, 1883-84 (supplement pp. 28-29), it is stated that "many of the K. H. letters are written by them [his Tibetan chelas or pupils] as his secretaries, he merely giving them the general ideas, and they elaborating them, and even ‘precipitating’ them in proper handwriting." The following account of the process of precipitation is published on page 64 of the Theosophist, December, 1883:

"When a master wants a letter to be written . . . he draws the attention of the chela, whom he selects for the task, by causing an astral bell . . to be rung near him. The thoughts arising in the mind of the Mahatma are then clothed in words, pronounced mentally, and forced along the astral current he sends towards the pupil to infringe on the brain of the latter. Thence they are borne by the nerve-currents to the palm of his hand and the tips of his fingers, which rest on a piece of magnetically-prepared paper. As the thought-waves are thus impressed on the tissue, materials are drawn to it from the ocean of akas (permeating every atom of the sensuous universe) by an occult process, out of place here to be described, and permanent marks are left."

We are also informed from another source that "the recipient of the message [the chela] manufactures the material substance which conveys the words impressed upon his brain. The writing does not appear on the surface of the paper, but is incorporated in its fibre, and forms an integral part of its substance." (Light, July 5, 1884, 271, note.) In further explanation of this peculiar psychical phenomenon, I find in Light, July 12, 1884, p. 281, note, a statement by the well-known Spiritualist scholar and writer, "M.A. (Oxon)" that he had been told by Madame Blavatsky "that it is usual for the chela to have by him some blue powder when engaged in this work of precipitating a letter in blue characters." According to Koot Hoomi’s statement in the "Occult World," 2d American edition, appendix p. 212, it is not the original precipitated document that is sent to the person for whom the letter is intended, but a copy of it is transcribed by the chela for that purpose; and on page 214 Koot Hoomi speaks of the colors for a precipitated message being drawn from "that exhaustless storehouse of pigments (as of everything else) the akasa."

Note the contradictions in these several statements of the mode of precipitation through a chela. In one account the paper is seemingly ordinary paper magnetized, prepared beforehand for the purpose, upon which the chela rests his hand while receiving the mental impressions from the "master," while the marks on the paper or the writing is made from materials occultly drawn from the akasa. In another account the paper is occultly manufactured from the akasa, during the process of precipitation, while the writing is made from un-occult blue powder, which the chela has with him for use in that manner. At one time we learn that the original precipitated letters, written in blue pencil, are given to the persons addressed; while at another we are told that the originals are kept, while a copy is made from the precipitation by the chela, and sent to the one for whom it is intended. In addition to this, there are various published accounts of precipitated writings by Koot Hoomi and other mahatmas, including some in blue pencil, which were the direct work of the mahatmas themselves, without the assistance or intervention of chelas. The following queries naturally present themselves: (1) Are the mahatmic precipitations made by the mahatmas in person, or are they made through the mediumship of chelas? (2) Are the precipitations made upon paper prepared beforehand for the purpose or upon paper occultly manufactured from the akasa at the time of the precipitation? (3) Is the writing in colors, on or in the paper, made from ordinary blue (or other colored) powder which the chela has by him for the purpose, or is it made magically from pigments in the akasa? (4) Is the original precipitation sent to the addressee, or is a chela-prepared copy sent to him? It should be observed that, according to one statement, the paper is magically produced from the akasa, and the coloring for the writing is not; while from other accounts we learn that the materials for the writing are occultly fabricated from akasa, and the paper is not. In which of these lies the truth, or is neither true?

A diligent search of theosophical literature reveals no trace of any information having been given to the world, or to Mr. Sinnett, by Koot Hoomi or any one else, that the assistance of a chela was required for the precipitation of mahatmic messages, until after Mr. Kiddle had publicly called attention to the plagiarism by Koot Hoomi from his lecture at Lake Pleasant. On page 144 of Mr. Sinnett’s "Occult World" (2 Am. Ed.) Koot Hoomi, in a letter to Mr. Sinnett, informs that gentleman of three modes in which his letters to Mr. Sinnett are and will be written. They are these: (1) They are precipitated by himself, Koot Hoomi; (2) they are dictated to an amanuensis by whom they are written; and (3) they are written by himself, Koot Hoomi, in the ordinary manner. Nothing is said of their being precipitated through and by a chela. The reader will remember that Mr. Kiddle’s lecture at Lake Pleasant was delivered August 15, 1880, and Koot Hoomi has told us ("Occult World," 2d Am. Ed. p. 212) that his letter to Mr. Sinnett, containing the alleged plagiarisms from Mr. Kiddle, was written "some two months" after Mr. Kiddle delivered his lecture; that is, in October or November, 1880. It could hardly have been in October; for we learn from Mr. Sinnett ("Occult World," p. 116-121) that the third letter received by him from Koot Hoomi (not counting small notes and brief communications) was sent to him after October 27, 1880; and as the plagiarized letter was not one of the three which was first sent to Mr. S. by the mahatma (all three being published in the "Occult World"), it necessarily follows that the letter of Koot Hoomi containing the Kiddle parallels must have been written about November 1, 1880, or later. This letter is, therefore, perhaps, the fourth or fifth of the Koot Hoomi letters to Mr. Sinnett. It appears from the "Occult World," pp. 143, 144, that the letter of the mahatma, naming the three modes in which his letters to Mr. Sinnett were prepared, was the second one to Mr. Sinnett concerning the manner of production of these letters; and as it names three processes by which he has already written to Mr. Sinnett, it is very probable that quite a number of mahatmic letters had been sent to Mr. Sinnett before this second letter of explanation was written. At all events there can scarcely be a doubt that it was written after the so-called plagiarized letter, which latter, we have seen, was perhaps the fourth or fifth of the Koot Hoomi letters to Mr. Sinnett. We thus see that in a letter to Mr. Sinnett, written after the plagiarized letter had been sent to Mr. Sinnett, Koot Hoomi, in naming the modes by which his letter to Mr. Sinnett had been prepared, omits all reference to the process of precipitation by the aid of chelas. But now we are told that this Kiddle letter and others were and are precipitated by chelas; in fact, the explanations given of the precipitation process, since the plagiarism was discovered, imply that precipitation by chelas is the usual process, rather than precipitation by the "Master" direct.

In the article on "Precipitation," published in The Theosophist for December, 1883, in which for the first time we have an explanation given us of the process of precipitation through chelas, the writer quotes from the two letters to Mr. Sinnett from Koot Hoomi published in the "Occult World," descriptive of precipitation, to which I have made reference above; and he then continues thus: "Since the above was written the Masters have been pleased to permit the veil to be drawn aside a little more, and the modus operandi can thus be explained now more fully to the outsider." This is equivalent to saying, that since the two letters were sent to Mr. Sinnett, in 1880 or 1881, about precipitation, nothing further had been given to Mr. Sinnett or the public, explanatory of the process of precipitation, until publication of the article in The Theosophist, December, 1883. That is, "the Masters" were not pleased to "permit the veil to be drawn aside," until the exposure of the Kiddle plagiarism compelled them to publish some other explanation of their mode of "precipitating" letters than that given in 1880-1881. The publication of Mr. Kiddle’s letter in Light placed Koot Hoomi in a hobble, and some means must be devised to relieve the mahatma from the dreadful predicament of having plagiarized from a poor, despised Spiritualist lecturer. So the chela-theory of precipitation was given out to the world in successive modified, variable, and contradictory forms. The first introduction of the chela seems to have been made by Col. Olcott, who, in his letter to Light, written immediately after Mr. Kiddle’s article in Light had reached India, stated that many of K.H.’s letters were written by Tibetan chelas as his secretaries, or even "precipitating" them in proper handwriting. This indicates that at the theosophical headquarters it was at once determined to make some real or supposed chela the scapegoat for Koot Hoomi’s plagiarism. Exactly in what manner this should be done appears not to have been at that time decided upon, hence Col. Olcott’s vague reference to chelas acting both as secretaries and as direct precipitators. A month or two afterward The Theosophist published an explanation of the whole process of precipitation through the mediumship of a chela; and subsequently other statements of this process were published, at variance more or less with previous affirmations. This constant variation or modification in statement is in accordance with the usual practice of Madame Blavatsky. From 1875 to the present time her statements of doctrines, of principles, and of facts, have been incessantly altered, modified, amended, and contradicted from time to time; in some instances four or five different theories of the same thing having been presented, all emanating from the omniscient, infallible mahatmas of Tibet.

A peculiar fact about these mahatmic letters is this: They are written in good English as regards both language and chirography, and all the Koot Hoomi letters, so far as known, are, at the most, in two not greatly variant handwritings. Competent experts have declared that the great bulk of the Koot Hoomi writings are modifications of the ordinary handwriting of Madame Blavatsky, and that the few remaining ones are in a disguised form of the handwriting of her Hindu confederate, Mr. Damodar K. Mavalankar, --- modified so as to resemble the Blavatsky form of the Koot Hoomi writing. It is claimed that some of the Koot Hoomi letters are written by Tibetan chelas, acting as secretaries to the mahatma, and that others are copies of precipitated letters, written by chelas from the precipitated originals. In both of these cases, the letters should be in the handwritings of the chelas, not of the mahatma; yet every Koot Hoomi letter of which we have any knowledge is written in Koot Hoomi’s own handwriting, so called. It is also a mystery how these young Tibetan chelas understand and write the English language, printed and written, so thoroughly. It is claimed that Koot Hoomi studied the English language while in Europe a number of years ago, --- hence his command of that tongue; but that Tibetan boys or youths should be as proficient in the use of English as their "Master," so much so that even their copies of the mahatma’s letters are written in the exact handwriting of the "Master," is somewhat puzzling.


Let us now consider the special explanations that have been given of the mode of production of the Koot Hoomi letter containing the plagiarism from Mr. Kiddle. Mr. Subba Row, the assistant editor of The Theosophist, in the Dec.-Jan. number, 1883-84, p. 87, informs us that the passage in the mahatma’s letters parallel with that from Mr. Kiddle’s lecture "was unconsciously altered through the carelessness and ignorance of the chela by whose instrumentality it was ‘precipitated.’ Such alterations, omissions, and mistakes sometimes occur in the process of precipitation; and I now assert, I know it for certain from an inspection of the original precipitation proof, that such was the case with regard to the passage under discussion." In reply to this, it may be asserted that Mr. Row could not possibly know that which he says he "knows for certain." Granting that he saw the so-called "precipitation proof" (that is, one or more pieces of paper with writing on it or them, which paper contained the Koot Hoomi letter referred to, with additions, alterations, etc.) what proof had he that this writing was the original draft of the letter as precipitated by the Tibetan chela? Neither Mr. Row nor any one else has told us whence this so-called proof was derived. There is no evidence that any of the witnesses have seen either Koot Hoomi or the chela, the alleged authors of the writing. All that seems to have been done is that a certain asserted precipitation proof has been seen at the Theosophical headquarters at Madras, by a few persons. What proof is there that this writing was not prepared for the occasion by Madame Blavatsky, and submitted to Mr. Row and the others as the work of the far-away Tibetan chela? And had Mr. Row been informed, in person, by Koot Hoomi and the chela, that the writing shown him was the original precipitation proof, even then he could not have "known for certain" that such was the case. It is evident, therefore, that Mr. Row is a swift witness, readily testifying to his positive knowledge of that concerning which he really knows nothing. Scant reliance can be placed in the evidence from such a source.

In the same number of The Theosophist (Supplement p. 30), General H. R. Morgan furnishes us a little more information concerning this "precipitation proof."

"Would our great Master but permit us, his humble followers," remarks the General, "to photograph and publish in The Theosophist the scraps shown to us, scraps in which whole sentences, parenthetical, and quotation marks are defaced and obliterated, and consequently omitted in the clumsy transcription - the public would be treated to a rare sight, something entirely unknown to modern science - namely, an akasic impression as good as a photograph of mentally expressed thoughts dictated from a distance."

It should be noted that both Mr. Row and General Morgan place the entire blame, for the incorrect and incomplete transcription of this mahatmic letter, upon the poor chela. Mr. Row says it was "unconsciously altered through the carelessness and ignorance of the chela," and the General says that much of it was omitted in the chela’s "clumsy transcription." According to Mr. Row, during the process of precipitation the chela made mistakes, alterations, and omissions in the message received by impression from Koot Hoomi. One would suppose that the "precipitation," no matter whether agreeing exactly or not, with the message as dictated by the mahatma, would be a continuous, connected document, and that the parts omitted or altered would not appear in the precipitated proof. If they did appear in the precipitated document, then the mistakes were not made in the said document, but in the subsequent transcription by the chela.

From Mr. Row’s account one would naturally infer that in receiving the impressions of his "Master" by mental telegraphy, the chela failed to catch at all some of the words and ideas, while in other cases he unconsciously altered them during the work of precipitation; and in that case, of course, the message as precipitated would be an exact copy of the imperfect impressions received by the chela, and necessarily would not contain the omitted passages or the correct version of the altered passages, - in other words, it would, chirographically considered, be a perfect document, although incomplete, imperfect, and partially erroneous in the words and ideas which it embodied. But we learn from General Morgan that it was something quite different. He calls it, as seen by him, a collection of "scraps, in which whole sentences, parenthetical, and quotation marks are defaced and obliterated." How did these defacements and obliterations occur? If the message was received correctly by the chela, with proper quotation marks, etc., why did the chela alter it, defacing and obliterating it in a number of places? How could the chela "unconsciously" alter it, as alleged by Mr. Row? The alteration occurred, according to Mr. Row, during its precipitation by the chela. How, then, did so many words and sentences, quotation marks, etc., become defaced and obliterated in the precipitated copy? How was it that every quotation mark in that part of the mahatma’s letter published in Mr. Sinnett’s book that corresponds to the passages in Mr. Kiddle’s lecture, as published by him in Light, has been omitted, if there were, as alleged, a number of them in the original precipitation (now all defaced), while in the other part of the mahatma’s letter, as published in the Occult World, preceding the passages parallel with those in Mr. Kiddle’s lecture, there are several quotation marks not defaced? How was it that the chela failed to deface or obliterate the unimportant quotation marks in one part of the mahatma’s letter, while in the other part, where they were specially important, they were every one obliterated?

There is a common-sense view of the so-called precipitated proof that was shown to Mr. Row and General Morgan, which is this: Neither Koot Hoomi nor the chela has been produced, in propria persona, to testify concerning this letter. Nothing has been published purporting to come from the chela; and as for Koot Hoomi, instead of publicly showing himself and presenting tangible proofs of his innocence of plagiarism, he has, as heretofore, kept himself in seclusion; and all that he has done in explanation of Mr. Kiddle’s statements, is to send Mr. Sinnett a letter, - another precipitated one, it is presumed, - which letter will be duly considered anon. There is no proof that this letter was really written by the alleged Koot Hoomi, or that either the mahatma or the chela had aught to do with the precipitation proof that was seen by Messrs. Morgan and Row. To seemingly vindicate Koot Hoomi, it was necessary to show that parts of his letter to Mr. Sinnett had been omitted, other parts altered, etc.; and in order that this might be done, the intermediation of a third party became requisite. So a Tibetan chela, till then unheard of, was materialized, and he became the scapegoat for Koot Hoomi’s literary malfeasance; and there was published - after the Kiddle matter was made public - detailed explanations of the process of precipitation through the medium of a chela, - a process till then also unheard of by the outside world. Next, there was manufactured, by the same person who originally wrote the Koot Hoomi letter, a so-called precipitation proof of that letter, in which various words, sentences, quotation marks, etc., were defaced, scratched out, obliterated; and this was brought forward in proof that mistakes had been made by the chela in his precipitation and transcription of the letter for Mr. Sinnett. But, as we have seen, instead of being evidence of the chela’s blunders, it is a proof that the alleged precipitation proof is bogus, - was prepared for the purpose, to induce unthinking people to believe that there were gaps and errors in the copy of the letter as sent to Mr. Sinnett. If this was a genuine precipitation, according to the process described, there would be no erasures, defacements, etc.; the document would be a continuous, harmonious whole, just as the letter was which Mr. Sinnett received and published. The presence of defaced and erased passages in it demonstrates it to be a spurious production, fabricated to bolster up the allegation of omission and alteration by the suppositious chela.

It may also be pertinently inquired, what is the necessity for a chela in the process of precipitation by a mahatma? There are various instances published of the mahatmas having themselves, as alleged, produced precipitated writings in a direct manner; and in the case of a chela being used, it is evidently not the power of the chela himself that works the marvel, - it is the mahatmic power manifested through the chela. It would seem much simpler and easier for the mahatma to make the precipitation himself, than to indulge in the cumbersome and complicated mode of so-doing through the aid of a chela. But as it was impossible to apparently vindicate the mahatma in the Kiddle case, without having the work done through a chela, the fanciful and irrational method of chela precipitation was invented by the ingenious writer of the so-called Koot Hoomi letters, to cover up the mahatma’s plagiarism.



The fourth English edition of "The Occult World," and the second American edition, published in 1885, contain in the Appendix (pages 208-217) a long explanation by Mr. Sinnett of the Kiddle incident; and in it is found Koot Hoomi’s official account of the matter. Here is what Koot Hoomi says:

"The letter in question," writes the Mahatma, referring to the communication Mr. Sinnett originally received, "was framed by me while on a journey and on horseback. It was dictated mentally in the direction of and precipitated by a young chela not yet expert at this branch of psychic chemistry, and who had to transcribe it from the hardly visible imprint. Half of it, therefore, was omitted, and the other half more or less distorted by the ‘artist.’ When asked by him at the time whether I would look over and correct it, I answered - imprudently, I confess - ‘Anyhow will do, my boy; it is of no great importance if you skip a few words.’ I was physically very tired by a ride of forty-eight hours consecutively, and (physically again) half asleep. Besides this, I had very important business to attend to psychically, and therefore little remained of me to devote to that letter. When I awoke I found it had already been sent on, and as I was not then anticipating its publication, I never gave it from that time a thought. Now I had never evoked spiritual Mr. Kiddle’s physiognomy, never had heard of his existence, was not aware of his name. Having, owing to our correspondence, and your Simla surroundings and friends, felt interested in the intellectual progress of the Phenomenalists, I had directed my attention, some two months previous, to the great annual camping movement of the American Spiritualists, in various directions, among others to Lake or Mount Pleasant. Some of the curious ideas and sentences representing the general hopes and aspirations of the American Spiritualists remained impressed on my memory, and I remembered only these ideas and detached sentences quite apart from the personalities of those who harbored or pronounced them. Hence my entire ignorance of the lecturer whom I have innocently defrauded, as it would appear, and who raises the hue and cry. Yet had I dictated my letter in the form it now appears in print, it certainly would look suspicious, and however far from what is generally called plagiarism, yet in the absence of any inverted commas it would lay a foundation for censure. But I did nothing of the kind, as the original impression now before me clearly shows."

"In a case such as mine the chela had, as it were, to pick up what he could from the current I was sending him, and patch the broken bits together as best he might. Do not you see the same thing in ordinary mesmerism - the maya impressed upon the subject’s imagination by the operator becoming now stronger, now feebler, as the latter keeps the intended illusive image more or less steadily before his own fancy. And how often the clairvoyants reproach the magnetizer for taking their thoughts off the subject under consideration. And the mesmeric healer will always bear you witness that if he permits himself to think of anything but the vital current he is pouring into his patient, he is at once compelled to either establish the current afresh or stop the treatment. So I, in this instance, having at the moment more vividly in my mind the psychic diagnosis of current Spiritualistic thought, of which the Lake Pleasant epoch was one marked symptom, unwittingly transferred that reminiscence more vividly than my own remarks upon it and deductions therefrom. So to say, the ‘despoiled victim’s’ - Mr. Kiddle’s - utterances came out as a high light, and were more sharply photographed (first, in the chela’s brain, and thence on the paper before him, a double process, and one far more difficult than thought reading simply), while the rest, my remarks thereupon and arguments - as I now find, are hardly visible and quite blurred on the original scraps before me. . . If the mental picture received [by the chela] be feeble, his visible reproduction of it must correspond."

"Well, as soon as I heard of the change, the commotion among my friends having reached me across the eternal snows, I ordered an investigation into the original scraps of the impression. At the first glance I saw that it was I the only and most guilty party, (sic) the poor boy having done but that which he was told. Having now restored the characters and the lines omitted and blurred beyond hope of recognition by any one but their original evolver, to their primitive color and places, I now find my letter reading quite differently, as you will observe. Turning to the ‘Occult World,’ the copy sent by you, to the page cited, I was struck, upon carefully reading it, by the great discrepancy between the sentences, a gap, so to say, of ideas between part 1 and part 2, the plagiarized portion so-called. There seems no connection at all between the two; for what has indeed the determination of our chiefs (to prove to a skeptical world that physical phenomena are as reducible to law as anything else) to do with Plato’s ideas which ‘rule the world,’ or ‘Practical Brotherhood of Humanity.’ I fear that it is your personal friendship alone for the writer that has blinded you to the discrepancy and disconnection of ideas in this abortive precipitation even until now. Otherwise you could not have failed to perceive that something was wrong on that page, that there was a glaring defect in the connection. Moreover, I have to plead guilty to another sin: I have never so much as looked at my letters in print, until the day of the forced investigation. I had read only your own original matter, feeling it a loss of time to go over my hurried bits and scraps of thought."

"The sentences transcribed by the chela are mostly those which are now considered as plagiarized, while the missing links are precisely those phrases that would have shown the passages were simply reminiscences, if not quotations, the key-note around which came grouping my own reflections on that morning. For the first time in my life I had paid a serious attention to the utterances of the poetical ‘media’ of the so-called ‘inspirational’ oratory of the English-American lecturers, its quality and limitations. I was struck with all this brilliant but empty verbiage, and recognized for the first time fully its pernicious intellectual tendency. It was their gross and unsavory materialism, hiding clumsily under its shadowy spiritual veil, that attracted my thoughts at the time. While dictating the sentences quoted - a small portion of the many I had been pondering over for some days - it was those ideas that were thrown out en relief the most, leaving out my own parenthetical remarks to disappear in the precipitation."

The following are - so Koot Hoomi says - the passages in this famous letter as they were originally dictated by him to the chela. The omitted passages are placed between single quotations marks. I invite the reader to observe the great difference between the original letter as published and this amended letter, with its large numbers of additional sentences, words, etc.

" . . . Phenomenal elements previously unthought of . . . will disclose at last the secrets of their mysterious workings. Plato was right ‘to readmit every element of speculation which Socrates had discarded. The problems of universal being are not unattainable, or worthless if attained. But the latter can be solved only by mastering those elements that are now looming on the horizons of the profane. Even the Spiritualists, with their mistaken, grotesquely perverted views and notions, are hazily realizing the new situation. They prophesy - and their prophecies are not always without a point of truth in them - of intuitional prevision, so to say. Hear some of them reasserting the old, old axiom that’ "ideas rule the world," and as men’s minds receive new ideas, laying aside the old and effete, the world ‘will’ advance, mighty revolutions ‘will’ spring from them; ‘institutions, aye, and even’ creeds and powers, ‘they may add,’ will crumble before their onward march, crushed by their own ‘inherent force,’ ‘not the’ irresistible force of the "new ideas" offered ‘by the Spiritualists, Yes, they are both right and wrong. It will be just as impossible to resist their influence when the time comes as to stay the progress of the tide - ‘to be sure. But what the Spiritualists fail to perceive I see, and their spirits to explain (the latter knowing no more than what they can find in the brains of the former) is that all this’ will come gradually on, and ‘that’ before it comes ‘they, as well as ourselves,’ have all a duty ‘to perform, a task’ set before us - that of sweeping away as much as possible the dross left to us by our pious forefathers. New ideas have to be planted on clean places, for those ideas touch upon the most momentous subjects. It is not physical phenomena, ‘or the agency called Spiritualism,’ but these universal ideas that we ‘have precisely to’ study; ‘the noumenon not the phenomenon;’ for to comprehend the ‘latter’ we have first to understand the ‘former.’ They ‘do’ touch man’s true position in the universe, to be sure, ‘but only’ in relation to his ‘future’ not ‘previous’ births. It is ‘not physical phenomena however wonderful, that can ever explain to man’ his origin, ‘let alone’ his ultimate destiny, ‘or as one of them expresses it,’ the relation of the mortal to the immortal, of the temporary to the eternal, of the finite to the infinite, &c. ‘They talk very glibly of what they regard as new ideas,’ "larger, more general, grander, more comprehensive," and at the same time they recognize instead of the eternal reign of immutable law, ‘the universal reign of law as the expression of a Divine will. Forgetful of their earlier beliefs, and that it "repented the Lord that he had made man," these would-be philosophers and reformers would impress upon their hearers that the expression of the said Divine will "is unchanging and unchangeable,’ in regard to which there is only an Eternal Now, while to mortals [uninitiated?] time is past or future as related to their finite existence on this material ‘plane," - ‘of which they know as little as of their spiritual spheres’ - a speck of dirt ‘they have made the latter, like our own earth, a future life that the true philosopher would rather avoid than court. But I dream with my eyes open. . . At all events, this is not any privileged teaching of their own. Most of these ideas are taken piecemeal from Plato and the Alexandrian philosophers.’ It is what we ‘all’ study, and what many have solved, etc., etc."

In reply to this peculiar and labored explanation of the alleged mahatma, I would ask my every intelligent reader, if it is not extremely improbable - not to say, well-nigh impossible - that, in precipitating this letter to Mr. Sinnett, the poor chela should have made all the multitudinous omissions specified above between single quotation marks and exactly in the manner stated? Let any one compare this purported original letter with the actual letter received by Mr. Sinnett, as published by me in the Dove for May, 1890, and note the special character of the words, clauses, and sentences said to have been omitted by the chela in transcription. Every word in any manner indicating that the writer was quoting from or criticising the writing of another (Mr. Kiddle) is missing from the letter as received by Mr. Sinnett; and these omissions, in the shape sometimes of one word, two words, or a few words, sometimes of parts of sentences of four or five lines, and sometimes of whole sentences, happen to be just those which, if they, or any part of them, had been in the letter as received, would have relieved Koot Hoomi of the charge of plagiarism. There are twenty-eight different places in this short letter in which omissions are said to have occurred during precipitation and transcription, - a remarkable circumstance; and of the entire twenty-eight passages (all having reference more or less to the alleged quotations from and comments upon Mr. Kiddle’s remarks), not one of them did the unlucky chela contrive to catch upon his precipitation proof, unfortunately for the mahatma. We are told by Koot Hoomi that his mind being so much the more surcharged with Mr. Kiddle’s remarks than with his comments thereon, the former came out distinctly during the precipitation, while the latter were blurred and illegible. If this was the case, it is a little strange that, in the letter as received by Mr. Sinnett, there are interpolated between portions of the remarks taken from Mr. Kiddle’s speech, two complete sentences, of over fifty continuous words, entirely distinct from the matter borrowed from Mr. Kiddle, but in these two new sentences, not derived from Mr. Kiddle, there is no allusion to the fact that the writer is, in the letter he is writing, quoting from or replying to the remarks of another. Koot Hoomi was not so tired and sleepy, but that he was able to precipitate clearly, (in the middle of the remarks taken from Mr. Kiddle’s speech) over fifty continuous words, not taken from Mr. remarks; but he was not able to precipitate even one word, though he attempted to do so a number of times, that would indicate that he was quoting from and referring to the remarks of a Spiritualist lecturer. This would be truly a most remarkable fact, were it a fact.

In the letter as received by Mr. Sinnett, there is not a word referring to Modern Spiritualism and its phenomena and philosophy; but instead, all the language of Mr. Kiddle’s letter, which referred exclusively to Spiritualism, has been slightly modified so as to make the whole of it refer to occultism and theosophy, in place of Spiritualism; that is, Koot Hoomi (?) borrowed Mr. Kiddle’s language in toto; and, by a few changes in phraseology here and there, made it applicable to theosophical phenomena and teachings. But, in the amended and expanded letter, which is claimed to be the original one, before it was mangled by the chela, the purport of the communication is something quite different. Instead of being devoted to theosophy and its teachings, it consists of quotations from "the Spiritualists," and a refutation of their doctrines. One copy of the letter is devoted to theosophy, with no allusion to Spiritualism, while the other copy treats exclusively of Spiritualism and its defects. Again I ask, if it is not almost an impossibility for such a variety of omissions to have been made during precipitation, and the whole of the twenty-eight omissions be just such as were required to change the entire subject of the communication? These twenty-eight omissions compass two distinct things - (1) they change the subject of the remarks from Spiritualism to theosophy, and (2) they change the character of the remarks, from that of quotations from and comments upon the language and ideas of another (Mr. Kiddle), into that of a strictly original communication. That the chela should make just such changes, large and small, in the communication he received from Koot Hoomi, as were required to transform an original into an apparently plagiarized production is, of itself, almost an impossibility, but that, at the same time, with these same changes, large and small, he should alter the entire subject of the writing, is wholly incredible. Such a duplex transmogrification, simultaneously made, through the agency of the same verbal omissions, unknowingly and accidentally, may be deemed a greater marvel than any of the other alleged mahatmic wonders ascribed to the thaumaturgic powers of the Tibetan Brothers, one and all.


Koot Hoomi tells us that he dictated the so-called Kiddle letter on horseback and half asleep, after "a ride of forty-eight hours consecutively (sic)." The natural query arises, Why did not the mahatma wait until he was in good physical condition before dictating this letter? There was nothing in it requiring such pressing attention, that it could not be postponed for a few hours. He says that he had been thinking over its subject-matter for "some days;" and recognizing the "pernicious intellectual tendency" of the utterances of Spiritualistic lecturers, he dictated this letter in exposition and criticism of said Spiritualistic productions; that is, this letter is the result of several days’ excogitation upon the evils of Spiritualism. Yet, marvelous to relate, the letter, as received by the chela, did not pertain to Spiritualism in any manner whatever. We are told that the mahatmas possess the wisdom of the gods and powers transcending those of the ablest and wisest of the inhabitants of earth who are not mahatmic in attainment. Nevertheless, the wise and gifted Koot Hoomi was so deficient in judgment, foresight, and actual power, that in the attempt to dictate a letter, treating upon a subject regarded as of much importance, which he had been "days" in preparing, he made an inglorious and disastrous failure; he bungled matters so badly that the letter as received from him did not contain a word relative to the important subject concerning which it was written, but treated upon a different matter. In addition, his extraordinary and mahatmic bungling caused the disappearance from his letter of every word indicating that he was using another man’s language, and left it in such a condition that it reads throughout as an original production of the writer himself, - in other words, he mismanaged matters so thoroughly and uniquely, as only a mahatma could do, that he furnished the world the most conclusive evidence that he was a plagiarist; and a plagiarist too from those whom he affected to despise, - the Spiritualist, lecturers, whose utterances are full of a "pernicious intellectual tendency" and of "gross and unsavory materialism."

Moreover, he performed the remarkable feat of causing the remarks quoted by him, which he regarded as having a "pernicious intellectual tendency," and which he criticised so sharply, as alleged, in the letter as originally dictated by him, - he performed the unrivaled mahatmic feat of causing these "pernicious" remarks to be received as his own mahatmic wisdom-of-the-gods utterances; and, more than that, led them to be published as his own in a widely-circulated volume; and more wonderful, if possible, than all the rest, he never discovered that all these strange metamorphoses had taken place in his letter, as published in Mr. Sinnett’s Occult World, until the publication of Mr. Kiddle’s letter calling attention to the parallelism between it and his lecture at Lake Pleasant. We are often told of the extraordinary knowledge and remarkable powers possessed by the mahatmas, and after this we may readily credit the facility with which they can accomplish the most unexampled performances; for in all the history of ordinary mankind, I am confident that nowhere can be found the record of aught having ever been done, by anyone, that is comparable to the five wondrous exhibitions of wisdom and power that I have enumerated above in connection with the dictation of this famous letter. None but an extraordinary person, of unique mental development, could possibly have been guilty of such mahatmic botchwork, miscalculation, fatuity, and lack of sagacity.

The mahatmas are said to be informed concerning the secrets of the universe, - they know all about God and creation, the past and the future of our earth, in all their details; and we are informed in the Occult World (p. 15) that "the clairvoyant faculties of the adept are so perfect and complete that they amount to a species of omniscience as regards mundane affairs." Where was the "omniscience" displayed in this Kiddle matter? Koot Hoomi, according to his explanation, did not know, at the time he dictated the letter, that if sent in his then exhausted condition, it would be impossible for the chela to properly precipitate and transcribe it. He did not intellectually perceive the necessity for delay on his part in the dictation thereof. He did not know the state in which his letter would be received by the chela, marred and blurred beyond hope of restoration by any one but the dictator himself. He did not know that just those words, clauses, and sentences would be omitted - in twenty-eight different places - that were required to convert a letter against Spiritualism into one in which Spiritualism is never mentioned. He did not know that precisely such omissions - just twenty-eight in all - would be made, as would cut out of his letter every allusion to the fact that quotation was being made from another writer or speaker and that he was criticising the said other writer. He did not know that the omissions that would be made from his letter would necessarily cause it to be regarded as an entirely original composition of his own, although as received it would consist entirely of the language and ideas of Mr. Kiddle, modified so as to be applicable to theosophy, instead of to Spiritualism. He did not know that by his bungling he would cause innocent Mr. Kiddle to be insulted, abused, sneered at, and unjustly charged with plagiarism from Plato and from himself (Koot Hoomi), by the leading theosophists of the world. He did not know that Mr. Sinnett would publish his letter to the world, and as a consequence the seeming plagiarism would be proclaimed far and wide. He did not see the hobble in which he placed himself in this matter, - a hobble from which it is impossible for him to be extricated. He did not know that he would be considered guilty of plagiarism, not only by unbelievers generally, but by theosophists as well. He did not know that he was furnishing to the opponents of theosophy one of the most potent weapons against its claims that has ever been brought to bear upon it and them. He did not know of the great injury which would result to the Theosophical Society through his dictation of that letter, causing the resignation of important members and a weakening of its hold and influence upon others. He did not know that he would be compelled, in self-defense, to prepare and publish what sensible people must regard as a weak and self-evidently absurd explanation of the alleged plagiarism, - that which Mr. Sinnett has given from him in the appendix of the fourth edition of the Occult World. He did not know that in this matter he was furnishing the strongest and most positive evidence yet obtained of his own non-existence, - the most convincing proof that the letters claiming to emanate from him are written in his name by another person, and of the identity of which person there is no reasonable doubt. And this, this is mahatmic "omniscience"!

Yet other examples of the Brother’s ignorance are given us in his explanation. First, he states that when he attended the Lake Pleasant Camp-meeting (in his astral body, I presume) he for the first time paid serious attention to the utterances of the "poetical ‘media’ of the inspirational oratory of the English-American lecturer" (sic). That is very strange. For five years previous to that time (1880) his "initiate" Madame Blavatsky, the mouthpiece of his ideas, had been animadverting upon the dangers of Spiritualism and its phenomena, and the unsoundness of the teachings of its lecturers, poetical, inspirational ,etc. "Isis Unveiled," published in 1877, we are told, is virtually the work of Koot Hoomi, and in it Spiritualism and its phenomena and philosophy are largely treated. Notwithstanding, Koot Hoomi had no practical acquaintance with or knowledge of the true character of Spiritualistic oratory and teachings until he attended the Lake Pleasant and other camps in 1880. Next, Koot Hoomi claims Mr. Kiddle as a "poetic," "inspirational" orator, whereas Mr. Kiddle is a non-poetic, normal speaker, making no claim whatever to mediumship or "inspirational" gifts. We are also informed by the mahatma that when he wrote the Kiddle letter, he had never heard of the existence of Mr. Kiddle. This is decidedly mahatmic. Koot Hoomi had visited Lake Pleasant and heard Mr. Kiddle deliver an address; he had paid so much attention to this address, that two months after he was able to write long extracts from it verbatim; and yet he had never heard of the existence even of Mr. Kiddle!! Neither was he aware of the name of Mr. Kiddle.

This is strange for an "omniscient" adept. The name of Mr. Kiddle had been prominent in Spiritualism for a year or more previous to this time, - the facts of his conversion, and of the publication of his work on Spiritualism, having spread his name far and wide. The Theosophists in India seem to have been informed concerning him, as appears from their published comments upon Mr. Kiddle’s letter to the editor of Light; and yet the fact of the existence of such a person, we are asked to believe, had never reached the all-knowing Koot Hoomi. And more than this, although, as he tells us, Koot Hoomi visited in 1880, astrally, clairvoyantly, or otherwise, various spiritual camp-meetings besides the one at Lake Pleasant, and therefore must have heard many other lectures, including those that were really delivered by "poetic," or "inspirational" lecturers, the only words he could remember of all this mass of oratory, after several days thought thereupon, and when he desired to comment upon the "pernicious intellectual tendency" and "the gross and unsavory materialism" of this oratory, were the few sentences which he copied verbatim from Mr. Kiddle’s published non-inspirational speech. In other words, to demonstrate the "pernicious tendency" of "inspirational" oratory he selected sentences from a non-inspirational discourse prepared in Mr. Kiddle’s study; and read or delivered from manuscript. It would be difficult to point out the "pernicious intellectual tendency" of the paragraphs from Mr. Kiddle’s lecture utilized by Koot Hoomi. They consist of truisms and general statements wholly devoid of anything pernicious, intellectually or otherwise, even from the standpoint of theosophy.

"As to ‘gross and unsavory materialism’ [says Mr. Kiddle, in a letter in Light, Sept. 20, 1884], it is a false charge, as any reader of the discourse must acknowledge, though the perversions of its language by this alleged Mahatma are, in some particulars, manifestly both ‘unsavory’ and materialistic. No exalted mind could bring so false an accusation against the teachings of that discourse, and I challenge him to point out a single passage that has even a materialistic tendency. Mere phenomenalism is pointedly condemned in it, more strongly, indeed, than in the interlined sentences of the ‘explanation.’ But I would ask what has Occultism to boast of as its foundation but materialistic wonder-working, so-called miracles, physical feats, conjuration, or magic?"

In the same letter Mr. Kiddle points out the mahatma’s blunder, in classing his address - which was not "inspirational," but written in New York - among "the utterances of the poetical media." It is seen that, in order to demonstrate the pernicious, materialistic tendency of inspirational teachings, the all-wise Koot Hoomi quotes and criticises passages from a non-inspirational speech, containing nothing whatever having a pernicious or materialistic tendency. Still further, although Koot Hoomi had visited Lake Pleasant and heard Mr. Kiddle lecture, and although the name of the camp had been specifically stated in Mr. Kiddle’s letter and other documents published before Koot Hoomi’s explanation was written, and despite the fact that for many years previous the Lake Pleasant camp-meeting had been perhaps the most widely noted of all Spiritualistic convocations in the world, still this omniscient adept did not know whether the camp was called Lake Pleasant or Mount Pleasant! We thus have the spectacle of an all-knowing mahatma, the depository of the wisdom of the universe and of the immortal gods, in attendance upon a camp the name of which he does not know, hearing a lecture delivered by a man of whose existence he is not aware and whose name he does not know (did not the chairman announce it?), the name of the address heard by him whether inspirational or not he does not know (mistaking normal oratory for inspirational), and the tendency of the ideas in the discourse he does not know (thinking them pernicious and materialistic, when they are not). And this, this is again mahatmic omniscience. Verily, instead of his "clairvoyant faculties" being "so perfect and complete that they amount to a species of omniscience as regards mundane affairs," it would more closely approximate the truth if we denominated Koot Hoomi the great Tibetan Know-Nothing!

The mahatma asserts that his letter was dictated from memory of the passages which he had heard at Lake Pleasant two months before. In disproof of this, the following two points, among others, may be stated. First, the mahatmic letter containing selections from Mr. Kiddle’s lecture was not written until a short time after the arrival by mail in India of the Banner of Light containing in print the address of Mr. Kiddle. Koot Hoomi speaks of the address being delivered two months before the letter was written. Why did the adept wait all that time before writing his comments upon it? If he had written that letter before it was possible for a printed copy of the lecture to have reached India, we should then have had indisputable evidence (aside from the possibility of the passages having been telegraphed to India) of the possession of abnormal power by the writer or inspirer of the letter, be it Koot Hoomi or another. Here was an excellent opportunity for the adept to prove the reality of his claim to clairvoyant power, but he does not seem to have had sufficient sense or forethought to avail himself of it; and he quite foolishly waits until printed copies of the lecture have reached India before he attempts to reply to it, and when he does try to comment upon it, what a sorry mess he makes of it. Next, in Mr. Kiddle’s address as it appeared in the Banner of Light the words "eternal now" were printed thus: Eternal Now, - with a capital E and N, and in italics. In the mahatma’s letter, as published in Mr. Sinnett’s Occult World, they are printed thus: Eternal Now, with capital E and N, the rest in small capitals. Can there be a doubt that in the adept’s letter these words were copied from the printed report of Mr. Kiddle’s address? If Koot Hoomi wrote these two words from the memory of having heard them delivered two months before, is it conceivable that he would have emphasized them in writing after the manner Mr. Kiddle had done in the manuscript and printed form of his speech? One was undoubtedly copied from the printed edition of the other. It is evident, therefore, that the statement of the mahatma that his knowledge of Mr. Kiddle’s remarks was derived from memory is false, - as false as is the whole of his clumsy, involved attempt to clear himself of this plagiarism.


My readers will remember that became the mahatmic letter said, "Plato was right. Ideas rule the world," and Mr. Kiddle’s lecture omits reference to Plato, he was charged by various theosophists with having plagiarized from Plato. If we examine the amended letter of Koot Hoomi, the form in which he claims he intended it to have been precipitated and sent to Mr. Sinnett, we discover some important facts. First, that the remark "Plato was right," in this letter, is separated from the remark, "Ideas rule the world," by five complete sentences, and that no connection whatever exists between them. Then we see that the remark, "Ideas rule the world," is duly credited, in quotation marks, to a Spiritualist; that is, to Mr. Kiddle. It is thus perceived that their "Master," Koot Hoomi, fully vindicates Mr. Kiddle from the aspersions of plagiarism from Plato which were freely showered upon him by the credulous partisan, reckless, and indiscriminately unjust followers of the so-called mahatma. Although they were thus shown by their "Master" to be in error, and that they had shamefully attacked an innocent man, not one of them has, so far as I can discover, ever expressed the least regret for his or her injustice to Mr. Kiddle, or offered an apology to that much-injured gentleman for their sneers and insults. But then, of course, no one expected that any of these persons would have the manliness or the womanliness to do the right thing in this matter. As it is, ever since the publication of Koot Hoomi’s explanation, all of them have been "dumb as oysters" on the Kiddle incident. Not a word have they dared to publish on the subject since that time, so far as I can learn.

As we have seen, in the amended or in the purported original form of the mahatmic letter, the remark, "Plato was right," is completely dissociated from the other remark, "Ideas rule the world;" while in the letter as originally received and published by Mr. Sinnett, these two sentences follow each other, and are in close connection. To my mind the separation of the two sentences in the amended letter is a strong proof of the bogus character of said letter, and that the letter as first published by Mr. Sinnett was the genuine one just as it was written by the purported adept. It is well know that Plato’s writings teem with remarks upon the importance and dominance of "ideas." The "ideas" of Plato are a commonplace in the world's philosophy, and it was quite natural for the writer of the mahatmic letter to interpolate in the passage copied from Mr. Kiddle’s speech, "Plato was right," although Plato had never used the words, "Ideas rule the world." But when we find, in the amended letter, that "Plato was right" refers to the difference between his philosophy and that of Socrates and that five sentences, of ninety-one words, intervene between "Plato was right" and "Ideas rule the world," all of which were omitted by the chela in the precipitation and transcription, we feel confident that these ninety-one words formed no part of the letter as originally written, but have been deliberately manufactured since, in the unskillful attempt, made in the name of Koot Hoomi, to relieve him of the alleged plagiarism. That the first omission in or blurring of the dictated letter should consist of five sentences and ninety-one words, while the second omission is one word, the third also one word, and soon, is beyond my power of credence, - however much gullible theosophists may be disposed to accept it, and anything else that purports to come from their "Masters" of Tibet.

Comparing closely the original letter received by Mr. Sinnett from the mahatma with the so-called correct or amended letter, which Koot Hoomi claims was the form in which he really dictated it to the chela, some strange facts present themselves. In the latter, as published in the "Occult World" appendix, the words and sentences said to have been omitted by the chela in precipitation are printed in italics. In the first place we find that these italicized words and sentences are in various instances erroneous. The adept has placed in italics a number of words which were not omitted in the original chela-prepared letter, and he has failed to place in italics, but left in roman letters, various other words that were omitted in the chela-letter, but which appear in his restored or amended version, - being errors both of commission and omission. More examples of the mahatma’s "omniscience!" The all-knowing adept, having copies of the two forms of the letter before him, was yet unable to see which of the words in the longer or so-called correct version were absent from the shorter form. His vision was so defective, that he supposed certain words not in the shorter letter were in it, and that certain words that were in it were really not in it. Again am I tempted to designate Koot Hoomi as the great Tibetan Know-Nothing! As examples of these two forms of error made by the all-wise mahatma, the following is in point! In the longer version, we read, "the world will advance, mighty revolutions will spring," although the word "will" in each case appears in the shorter version, and therefore ought not to be in italics. Again, the longer version says, "all this will come gradually on," despite the fact that "all this" is in the shorter form just as it is in the longer, and so should not be italicized. On the other hand, in the longer letter we read, "irresistible force of the new ideas," where the words, "of the new ideas," which are not in the shorter letter, are printed in roman when they ought to be in italics. The same error is made where, in the longer version, it reads, "in the universe, to be sure," the words "to be sure" being in roman instead of in italics; also, where we read, "larger, more general," the words "more general" should be italicized instead of being in roman. These are not all of the errors of these two classes that are found in the amended letter, these few are given as samples only. The best friends of Madame Blavatsky testify to her great, exceptional inaccuracy of expression, while the suppositions mahatmas are said to be omniscient in mundane matters. Which of the two, then, is most likely to have written this alleged explanation of Koot Hoomi, - the all-knowing adept or the notoriously-inaccurate Madame?

The next peculiar circumstance in this matter is this: Comparing Mr. Kiddle’s speech with the shorter letter, we see that certain phrases, clauses, and words of Mr. Kiddle’s address are not in the said letter. But, strange to say, they are in the longer letter. Koot Hoomi has told that in the passages from Mr. Kiddle’s speech, being the more vividly impressed upon his mind, were the parts of his dictated letter that were caught and correctly precipitated by the chela, while his original language, in the dictation, was feebly impressed upon the chela and became blurred in the precipitation. Yet here we have the converse of this. In the shorter letter, as originally precipitated by the chela, there are two complete sentences, of fifty-three words, entirely original with the mahatma, sandwiched in between parts of the matter taken from Mr. Kiddle’s address, while parts of Mr. Kiddle’s language that should have been in the letter - according to Koot Hoomi’s amended form thereof - are omitted from the copy transcribed by the chela. For example: the words, "the agency called Spiritualism," are in Mr. Kiddle’s speech. In the shorter letter, these words are omitted, and there is substituted this: "It is not physical phenomena. In the amended version we read, "It is not physical phenomena, or the agency called Spiritualism." How was it that, in this instance, the chela failed to catch the language of Mr. Kiddle, but did catch the original ideas and words of the mahatma, which he added to or substituted for those of Mr. Kiddle? Here the facts are in direct opposition to Koot Hoomi’s explanation.

Again, Mr. Kiddle’s address speaks of "recognizing more fully the universal reign of law as the expression of the Divine will, unchanging and unchangeable." In the shorter letter, this is modified so as to read, "recognizing the eternal reign of immutable law, unchanging and unchangeable." As the Mahatma did not recognize such a thing as "Divine will," the clause was modified so as to conform to his, and Madame Blavatsky’s, quasi-atheistic or Pantheistic notion. In the amended letter, we have the following much expanded version of this part of the letter: - "and at the same time they recognize instead of the eternal reign of immutable law, the universal reign of law as the expression of a Divine will. Forgetful of their earlier beliefs, and that ‘it repented the Lord that he had made man,’ these would-be philosophers and reformers would impress upon their hearers that the expression of the said Divine will ‘is unchanging and unchangeable.’" In the amended letter, the "Divine will," which was omitted from the shorter letter, is restored; and in order to make the letter, with this restoration, read consistently with the amended purport of the letter - that is, a criticism of Mr. Kiddle’s Spiritualistic ideas, - the insertion of a mass of entirely new matter, far fetched and not germane to the original, shorter letter, consisting of about sixty additional words, was necessitated. Is it not evident to every candid, thinking mind, that the passage as it appears in the so called chela-prepared letter was just as the writer intended it to be, and that the bungling, involved amplification thereof, in the amended letter, is a fabrication, manufactured in an inartistic manner to smooth over the inconsistency that would obtain in the letter, were not something of this sort foisted in it?

In connection with the other inconsistencies above noted, reference may be made to the fact that whereas Messrs. Subba Row and General Morgan asserted that the mistakes omissions, etc., in the original letter, as precipitated by the chela, were due to the clumsiness or other delinquency of the chela, we are told by Koot Hoomi that the chela was entirely innocent in the matter, all the fault for the defective precipitation resting with the mahatma himself. Another peculiar thing is this: The letters from the adept to Mr. Sinnett were, as we have been told, received by him through Mme. Blavatsky, and she was presumed to receive them from the "Master" in an occult manner. Previous to the expose of the Kiddle plagiarism, it was always understood that she received them, in this occult or magic manner, direct from Koot Hoomi. But, in re this plagiarised letter, we are told by the mahatma that it was "sent on" - that is, to Madame Blavatsky - while he was asleep. Are we to suppose that a Tibetan "boy" - as this chela is called - possesses the magical powers of his "Master," that he can forward letters from Tibet to India in the same marvelous manner that the mahatmas employ? We are informed that it is only by various incarnations and long and arduous studies that the adepts acquire such wonderful mastery of the forces of nature as enables them to perform the extraordinary feats attributed to them. How is it, then, that a simple pupil, a mere boy, is enabled to exercise the same control over nature’s laws as is employed by his "Master?" We are told that chelas are required to undergo at least seven years’ tutelage before they are even permitted to be received as an initiate. "Never, I believe, in less than seven years from the time at which a candidate is accepted as a probationist, is he ever admitted to the very first of the ordeals, whatever they may be, which bar the way to the earliest decrees of occultism" (Sinnett’s "Occult World," p. 25). No chela is ever admitted even to the rudimentary fields of occultism; it is only the accepted initiates, who have passed through their seven or more years of chelaship, that are made acquainted with the simplest of the laws of occultic manifestation. How, then, is it possible for a "boy," only a chela, not an initiate, to possess such remarkable occultic power, rivaling those of the mahatma, as are ascribed to this much-talked-of chela of Koot Hoomi? Is it not probable that, had not the plagiarism, in the letter we are discussing, been discovered, the world would never have learned of this wonderful chela and his remarkable mahatmic powers? and is it not also probable that the existence on earth of this chela is due solely to the publication of Mr. Kiddle’s letter in Light of September 1, 1883, and that had not that letter been published, the "materialization" of this Tibetan boy, by the writer of the original Koot Hoomi letter, would never have been thought of or attempted?



It will be remembered that Koot Hoomi alleges that, in the process of precipitation of his letter to Mr. Sinnett containing the Kiddle quotations, owing to his exhausted and sleepy condition, the language of Mr. Kiddle was more sharply photographed upon the chela’s brain, and thence on to the paper before him, than were the ideas and words of the mahatma himself; that is, he was so tired and sleepy that he was unable to project his own composition save in a distorted, inaccurate, and very imperfect manner. In view of this alleged fact, a remarkable circumstance presents itself. The letter to Mr. Sinnett, containing the so-called Kiddle passage, as published in the Occult World, pp. 148-150, consists of 65 lines; and we gather from Mr. Sinnett’s language on p. 148, that these 65 lines do not constitute the whole of the letter; they constitute only a "passage" from the letter. Moreover, of the 65 lines published, 35 lines of other matter precede, and 2 lines succeed, the passage containing the so-called Kiddle matter. Saying nothing of the unpublished matter that was in this letter, to the character and quantity of which we have no clew, we have 37 lines of matter projected by Koot Hoomi, and received and precipitated by the chela, entirely independent of the matter which the mahatma acknowledged to have been based on Mr. Kiddle’s speech. According to the Mahatma’s statement, his use of Mr. Kiddle’s language began with the phrase, "ideas rule the world;" all previous to that is claimed to be Koot Hoomi’s original language. It seems, then, according to the adept’s statement, he was not too tired and sleepy to project accurately, and without flaw, at least 35 lines of alleged original matter; but as soon as he came to that part of his letter in comment upon Mr. Kiddle’s remarks, - as he alleges, - the power of correct precipitation became exceedingly muddled. Not a word was omitted or blurred of the 35 or more lines in this letter, until the mahatma struck the Kiddle matter, and then what a transformation! First, five consecutive sentences, of nine lines, are omitted; then separate words, clauses, phrases, and parts of sentences are omitted, altered, and otherwise distorted from the mahatma’s original language. After the Kiddle matter is finished, other original language of the adept is received by the chela, in which no mistake is made in precipitation. Is it at all reasonable that the adept, despite his exhaustion and loss of sleep, would send correctly and perfectly 35 lines, plus the additional unknown quantity of matter unpublished; then send a passage of 579 words, of which 336 were omitted in precipitation; and, immediately following this mass of incorrect projection, would or could project additional matter, in quantity also unknown, free from all error or omission, - the alleged incorrect precipitation being sandwiched in between two correct and flawless precipitations?

Another strange thing is this: The chela is said to have received a passage from Koot Hoomi in which 336 words out of 579 were blurred or unintelligible. Why did the chela not call the attention of the "Master" to this fact in a more positive manner than he is said to have done? Koot Hoomi tells us that the boy asked him to look over and correct the proof, but he replied to him, "Any how will do, my boy; it is of no great importance if you skip a few words." Why did not the boy tell him that, instead of a few words, over three-fifths of the passage was blurred; that over three hundred words were illegible? And why did not the boy, seeing that so large a part of the letter was missing or unintelligible in the proof, retain the letter until the "Master" had recovered from his exhaustion, and then invite his attention to its defective character? How was it that Koot Hoomi knew nothing of the wholesale defective character of the letter, from the boy or from any other source, until the publication of Mr. Kiddle’s letter in Light in 1883? Again, Koot Hoomi has informed us that he deemed this letter of so much importance that he had pondered over its subject-matter for days, yet when told by the chela that it had been incorrectly precipitated, he regarded it as of so little importance that he directed the letter to be forwarded as it was, as "anyhow" would do.

The reader will have noticed that, in comparing the remarks of Mr. Kiddle with their counterpart in the Koot Hoomi letter, certain additions have been made in the latter to Mr. Kiddle’s language; and these additions are of importance in indication of the authorship of the Koot Hoomi letter. These changes are in consonance with a marked peculiarity in Madame Blavatsky’s literary style, - that of redundancy and repetition of language. Often, in her writings, the same idea is expressed, in varied language, two or three times in the same sentence; and several instances of this occur in the Koot Hoomi modification of Mr. Kiddle’s remarks. Mr. Kiddle speaks of the "reign of law unchanging and unchangeable." Koot Hoomi transformed this into "the eternal reign of immutable law unchanging and unchangeable." Mr. Kiddle said, "Institutions crumble before their onward march." The mahatma altered this to "will crumble before their onward march crushed by their irresistible force." Mr. Kiddle’s "material plane" is changed to "material speck of dirt;" and man’s "destiny" is changed to "ultimate destiny." (See remarks of "Quodlibet," in Light, July 26, 1884.)

Mr. C. C. Massey, of London, is one of the leading mystics of England, and one of the most intellectual persons that has been affiliated with the Theosophical Society. Consequent upon the publication in the appendix to the fourth edition of the "Occult World" of Koot Hoomi’s explanation of the alleged Kiddle plagiarism, Mr. Massey published in Light, July 26, 1884 an extended critique of the said mahatmic explanation. His critique effectively riddled Koot Hoomi’s attempt to explain away the plagiarism, and demonstrated the total untruth of the mahatma’s (?) assertions. He gave as his decided opinion in the matter, that the so-called adept’s letter was not written in Tibet by either Koot Hoomi or a chela, and that it was based upon the printed copy of Mr. Kiddle’s speech, as published in the Banner of Light. Although still accepting as true the existence of adepts or mahatmas, he was yet compelled to see in their methods, or rather in the things that are said and done in their names, such deviations from our Philistine sense of truth and honor as to assure us that something is very wrong somewhere. For this [the Kiddle plagiarism] is by no means a singular case. The repeated necessity for explanations - which are always more formidable than the thing to be explained - must at length tire out the most patient faith, except the faith superseding all intelligence, the credo quia impossible [I believe because it is impossible]. Thinking that the publication of his conclusions on this subject were not consistent with loyal fellowship to the Theosophical Society, Mr. Massey’s resignation as a fellow of that society was then and there forwarded.


In Light, Sept. 20, 1884, Mr. Kiddle published a reply to the explanation of Koot Hoomi relative to the parallels between his letter and Mr. Kiddle’s address, in which a new and unexpected phase of the matter was presented. Reference has been made to there being 35 printed lines in the original Koot Hoomi letter preceding the remark, "Plato was right. Ideas rule the world." These 35 lines had been regarded as not pertaining to Mr. Kiddle’s address, and as original with Koot Hoomi; as Mr. Kiddle made no reference to them in his original letter in Light inviting attention to the parallelism between his lecture and the adept’s letter. But in his letter in Light of Sept. 20, 1884, Mr. Kiddle shows that the plagiarism did not begin with the sentence, "Ideas rule the world," as his previous letter seemed to indicate, and in proof thereof he submitted the following additional parallel passage: -


The terms inspiration and revelation have hitherto been used in a very loose way, as implying something mysterious and abnormal; but in the light that has been shed upon recipient minds during the last few years, these words become the definite representative of truth as reducible to law as the simplest phenomena of the physical universe.

Our opponents say, "The age of miracles is past," but we say it never existed. . . . . .

For the agency that is now making itself felt, while not unparalleled, or without its counterpart in human history, is, as experience in the future will most certainly verify, one of overpowering influence - both destruction and constructive - destructive of the errors of the past, but constructive of institutions based upon more truthful principles. Phenomenal elements, previously unthought of - undreamt of - are manifesting themselves day by day with constantly augmented force. Usually unseen and unfelt, scarcely known even in the results of their activity, these elements now clearly display their existence and agency; and, under some extraordinary impulse which they do not divulge, disclose the secrets of their mysterious workings.

(Borrowed Words Italicised.)

The terms Unscientific, Impossible, Hallucination, Imposture, have hitherto been used in a very loose, careless way, as implying in the occult phenomena, something either mysterious and abnormal, or a premeditated imposture. And this is why our chiefs have determined to shed upon a few recipient minds more light upon the subject, and to prove to them that such manifestations are as reducible to law as the simplest phenomena in the physical universe. The wiseacres say, "The age of miracles is past," but we answer "it never existed." While not unparalleled or without their counterpart in universal history, these phenomena must and will come with an overpowering influence upon the world of skeptics and bigots. They have to prove both destructive and constructive - destructive in the pernicious errors of the past, in the old creeds and superstitions which suffocate in their poisonous embrace, like the Mexican weed, nigh all mankind; but constructive of new institutions, of a genuine, practical Brotherhood of Humanity, where all will become co-workers of Nature, will work for the good of mankind, with and through the higher planetary spirits, the only spirits we believe in. Phenomenal elements previously unthought of, undreamed of, will soon begin manifesting themselves day by day with constantly augmented force, and disclose at last the secrets of their mysterious workings.

The editor of Light follows Mr. Kiddle’s letter containing these parallelisms with some remarks by himself. He states that, upon comparing the passages to verify them before publication, he was surprised to find that Mr. Kiddle had not even yet exhausted the passages borrowed by Koot Hoomi from the former’s Lake Pleasant address. He then publishes the paralleled extracts found below, which immediately precede the portion of the adept’s letter given above.


These truths constitute, indeed, a body of spiritual philosophy at once profound and practical; for it is not as a mere addition to the mass of theory or speculation in the world that they have been given to us, but for their practical bearing on the interests of mankind.

(Borrowed Words Italicised.)

These truths and mysteries of Occultism constitute, indeed, a body of the highest spiritual importance, at once profound and practical, for the world at large. Yet it is not as an addition to the tangled mass of theory or speculation that they  are being given to you, but for their practical bearing on the interests of mankind.

These two additional passages of 35 lines constitute, with the 30 lines of plagiarised matter to which Mr. Kiddle first called attention, the whole of the Koot Hoomi letter as published in "Occult World," pp. 148-150, except two or three lines of a personal character at the end of the published extract; that is, instead of only 30 of its 65 lines having been plagiarised from Mr. Kiddle the whole 65 lines were based upon that gentleman’s address. In view of this, the editor of Light called upon Mr. Sinnett to publish the whole of the letter as he received it from the mahatma, any private parts excepted. Mr. Sinnett paid no attention to this request. It is possible that had the entire letter been published, it would have been manifest that other parts of this letter were borrowed from Mr. Kiddle, just as the parts published had been. It may be that Mr. Sinnett compared the unpublished parts with Mr. Kiddle’s address, and finding them also parallel, concluded the wisest thing for him to do was to say nothing more on the subject.

The editor of Light also invited attention to the fact that the explanation of Koot Hoomi as to the cause of the seeming plagiarism in the thirty lines first indicated by Mr. Kiddle, could not possibly apply to the parallelism in the remaining 35 lines, then for the first time mentioned by Mr. Kiddle. In Koot Hoomi’s explanation of the 30 lines, he refers to the preceding 35 lines, "as his own composition, and tries to make out that there is a want of connection between the two parts." If my readers will refer to the explanation of Koot Hoomi, published by me in the Dove for September, it will be found that the mahatma says, that he was struck, upon carefully his letter in the "Occult World," by the great discrepancy between the sentences, a gap so to say between part 1 (the 35 lines last published by Mr. Kiddle in Light) and part 2, the plagiarize portion, so-called; that there seems to be no connection between the two; and in order to connect them, he, in the amended version of his letter, inserts nine lines of new matter, said nine lines being, however, not germane to the contents of the original letter, and are lugged in by the heels, as it were, to cover in an artificial and unskillful manner the plagiarism which had been charged. Koot Hoomi, then, in his explanation, gives what he calls the passages "as they were originally dictated" by him, as he alleges. This amended version applies only to the 30 lines originally referred to by Mr. Kiddle. The alleged omissions and blurrings in the precipitation proof referred to by Subba Row, General Morgan, and Koot Hoomi, pertain exclusively to the part contained in the said 30 lines; the preceding 35 lines were, according to Koot Hoomi’s explanation, his own original composition, and were precipitated by the chela, free from break, error, or omissions. But Mr. Kiddle and the editor of Light prove that they were just as much a plagiarism as the original 30 lines to which the "explanation" of Koot Hoomi alone pertains. The proof presented that the preceding 35 lines were all plagiarized, overthrows completely the long involved and ingenious "explanation" of the mahatma as to the other 30 lines. It demonstrates beyond a shadow of doubt, that this explanation is devoid of truth throughout, that from first to last it is a mass of falsehood, a sickening revolting mass of blackest falsehood, worthy of the source whence it came, characteristic of the mind that produced it, in full keeping with the enormous aggregation of falsehood, plagiarism, and fraud, that the world has been cursed with emanating from the same mentality during the last fifteen years. It is positively demonstrated then, that the whole of this mahatmic letter, as published, was plagiarized from Mr. Kiddle’s address. It necessarily follows then, that the theory of its precipitation by and through a chela is false; that the so-called precipitation proof, blurred and defaced, that was seen at the theosophical headquarters at Adyar, was a forgery; that the explanation of the plagiarism, and all else that Koot Hoomi is alleged to have said and done in this matter, is false. It will be exceedingly difficult to find an element of truth in the whole affair, from first to last, so far as the Theosophical Society and its members, chelas and mahatmas are concerned.

The publication of Mr. Kiddle’s letter in Light, Sept. 20, 1884, must have been like the explosion of a bombshell in the theosophic camp or to the theosophists that read it. It so thoroughly demolished the explanation of Koot Hoomi, that an answer to it was impossible, and none has been attempted. Not a word about it has Koot Hoomi ever said since, so far as can be ascertained. Not a word has Madame Blavatsky said; not a word has Mr. Sinnett said; not a word has W. Q. Judge, Subba Row and General and Mrs. Morgan said, so far as I have been able to find. Mr. Kiddle’s unexpected second proof of plagiarism struck them all dumb, from Koot Hoomi down, and dumb have they remained ever since. Madame Blavatsky has long ago realized that one of the most disastrous mistakes ever made by her was when she wrote the letter to Mr. Sinnett in Koot Hoomi’s name, borrowed from Mr. Kiddle’s Lake Pleasant address of August 15, 1880.



One leading theosophist, Col. H. S. Olcott, published a letter in Light of October 11, 1884, relative to the Kiddle incident and the mahatma’s explanation. It is dated Elberfeld, Germany, Sept. 27, 1884. Its contents indicate that the writer had seen Mr. Kiddle’s letter in Light of Sept. 20, 1884. In this letter, Col. Olcott says:

"I have no explanation to offer of the alleged plagiarism, save that which the properties of the Akasa (Astral Light,) and the relations thereto of the human mind, afford. It is conceivable to me . . that all Mr. Kiddle’s phrases could have been absorbed into the current of an Adept’s thought, and transmitted telepathically, as alleged . . . It is to me a deplorable business altogether, and no one will be more glad than I to have the honest truth brought to light . . . I do not admit that a general proposition gains any additional cogency when enunciated by a mahatma, a seer, or a medium . . .When in the physical body, he [a mahatma] is as subject to intellectual error as any other mortal of equal intelligence . . . Without questioning the correctness of his explanation of any particular fragment to which his attention was called by Mr. Kiddle’s remarks, it is an entirely possible conjecture that, after once calling forth from the Astral Light, the whole of that gentleman’s lecture, the mahatma-man went on dictating and using inadvertently here a sentence, and there a word, or a whole paragraph to express his thought. In such cases, the several facts would naturally be accreted into the argument intended, with connecting words and ideas emanating from his own mind. And - time and space not being cognized - he would not detect whether he was using fragments of a speech of Zoroaster or one of Bright; ideas never rust or rot . . . If the physical body was momentarily exhausted, or pre-occupied by any cause, and the physical memory partly paralysed, it would be quite possible that the other man’s ideas should be emitted from the psychic store-house without the thinker perceiving that he was quoting something not original with himself. I do not affirm this to have been the case in the present instance; I only believe it . . . I insist again that the teaching of a mahatma is no more and no less true because he is one. It is either true or false, and must be determined upon its intrinsic merit."

We here have a new theory broached. Colonel Olcott says that he believes that Koot Hoomi was an unconscious plagiarist from Mr. Kiddle. If he believes this, then, perforce, he must believe that the detailed explanation of Koot Hoomi, regarding the plagiarism, is devoid of truth, - that everything which he says regarding the use of Mr. Kiddle’s language in his letter is false, and that the purported precipitation proof is a forgery. The mahatma says that he deliberately and knowingly used Mr. Kiddle’s language, after several days’ study of the said language, and in proof of it refers to the blurred and illegible proof. Col. Olcott says he believes that the mahatma used Mr. Kiddle’s language and ideas without being aware of it. The mahatma says that he was fully conscious that he was quoting from another, a Spiritualist lecturer, and that in his letter as dictated, he placed the extracts from said lecturer in quotation marks, as per the revised form of the letter. Col. Olcott says that he believes that Koot Hoomi was not conscious "that he was quoting something not original with himself." Ergo, according to Col. Olcott’s belief, the mahatma is a willful, ingenious and wholesale falsifier and forger; and therefore he is utterly unworthy of credence or respect. Note that Col. Olcott twice emphasizes the important statement, that truth does not necessarily inhere in the teaching of a mahatma, and that what he says must be judged as true or false precisely as in the case of other persons. This is tantamount to warning us to be on the look-out for false statements emanating from the mahatmas.

I have already referred to a number of instances of what may be called "know-nothingism" on the part of Koot Hoomi, based upon his explanation of the plagiarism in this case. If Col. Olcott’s belief, respecting Koot Hoomi in this matter, be regarded as correct, still another example of the colossal ignorance of the mahatma is manifest. According to Col. Olcott, an "omniscient" mahatma is liable at any time to use, as his own original language and ideas, the words and sentiments of another, in utter unconsciousness that he is self-appropriating that which belongs to another. It is an impossibility for an ordinary mortal to indulge in plagiarism of the character of the Kiddle incident without knowledge of the fact; and so we perceive the advantage of being a mahatma, - the great superiority which an adept enjoys over common humanity. The latter, if detected in literary theft, is debarred from the plea of having done the deed unconsciously; but in case a mahatma is caught in literary malfeasance, he can clear himself from the charge of conscious plagiarism by pleading ignorance of the fact that he had made use of another’s property, and by laying all the blame upon "the Astral Light"! Mahatmas are said to possess means of acquiring knowledge, much transcending those of ordinary men and woman; yet, if Col. Olcott’s theory is true, it is impossible for them to tell whether their own thoughts are original with them, or are the ideas of others that have become impressed upon their sensoriums; that is, when an adept dictates an essay or writes a letter, he is unable to determine whether the words dictated or written are the emanations of his own mentality, or extracts from an address by Zoroaster, John Bright, or Henry Kiddle. It is evident, then, that the limitations of knowledge, in the case of the mahatmas, are much greater than they are with non-adept humanity, and that, while professing to possess unlimited knowledge, their knowledge, in some directions at least, is exceeded by that of every-day men and women.


In the beginning of this series of papers, it was remarked that the "facts involved in this one matter, in my judgment, demonstrate in a distinct and positive manner, the real character of the alleged teachings of the mahatmas or adepts of Tibet, the sources of these teachings, the existence or non-existence of the mahatmas, and the true nature of the foundations upon which the whole structure of theosophy rests." I shall now sum up the results of the facts adduced, relative to the mahatma’s plagiarism from Mr. Kiddle, and see if they do not fully bear out my remark as above.

I. What is the true character of the alleged teachings of the mahatmas, as evidenced from the facts I have presented in this matter? It has been proven beyond all reasonable doubt, that the whole of the letter claiming to be written by Koot Hoomi to Mr. A. P. Sinnett, so far as published in pages 148 to 150 of his "Occult World," 2d. American edition was plagiarized bodily from an address on Spiritualism, by Mr. Henry Kiddle of New York City, delivered at Lake Pleasant camp-meeting August 15, 1880, and published in extenso in the Banner of Light September 18, 1880, - modifications being made here and there in Mr. Kiddle’s address by the alleged mahatma, so as to make the remarks applicable to theosophic occultism instead of to Spiritualism. It is also proven that the explanations given, both by leading theosophists and by the adept himself, as claimed, are destitute of truth; and that, in the attempt to clear the mahatma of the plagiarism, a forged document was prepared, called a precipitation proof of the mahatmic letter as it was originally dictated, which forgery was endorsed as genuine, and the mode of its production elaborately explained, in a letter published to the world in Koot Hoomi’s name.

Granting the existence of Koot Hoomi, and that the writings put forth in his name are, in realty, his productions, what follows? Necessarily, that so far as morals are concerned, instead of being so immeasurably superior to mankind in general, he is much inferior to the better classes of humanity, - that he scruples not to descend to the commission of such mean and ignoble practices as thousands, yea, millions, of earth’s inhabitants would scorn. A person who, while pretending to despise Spiritualism, and while belittling and ridiculing its lecturers, would steal from a Spiritualist lecturer’s printed address some sixty lines of said lecturer’s language, and by slight manipulation, adapt it to another subject, and then palm it off as an original production; who, when discovered in this literary theft, would manufacture or cause to be made a forged document to sustain a totally false defense of said theft; and who would deliberately invent a tissue of falsehoods like that composing the so-called explanation of Koot Hoomi, - a person who could be guilty of all this is morally despicable, and worthy only of the scorn and contempt of every lover of truth, honor, and honesty. One who could falsify in this wholesale manner is unworthy of credit on any subject; his or her assertions or teachings are, in themselves, absolutely worthless in all matters. No reliance can be placed in a single word emanating from such a corrupt and constitutionally untruthful source. The mind that produced the Koot Hoomi writings in this matter has falsehood, deception, craft, and low, cunning trickery ingrained in its innate constitution; it is saturated with steeped in, mendacity, forgery, and fraud.

It is claimed that the knowledge of the mahatmas is of God-like proportions, that they are possessed of the wisdom of the gods; and that being thus possessed, their teachings should be received in great measure at least, as in consonance with that of divine truth. It has been demonstrated in this examination of the Kiddle plagiarism (See Parts three and four in the Dove for October and subsequent months) that so far as the knowledge of the alleged Koot Hoomi goes in terrestrial affairs, it by no means exceeds that of an ordinary mortal; that he has displayed no superior insight, forethought, or judgment; that he has acted throughout in a reckless and foolish manner, far removed from that which would be dictated by good sense and clear penetration, saying nothing of his asserted transcendent mahatmic wisdom. Did it display any command of wisdom, or even of ordinary knowledge, to filch another’s language and ideas which had just been printed, and send them as original to a journalist, who might at any time publish them, as he did a short time after, or to prepare for publication such a foolish, self-evidently false explanation of the plagiarism as that published in Koot Hoomi’s name? The character of this long, involved, farfetched explanation, is such as to effectually damn Koot Hoomi, so far as the possession of any superior intellectual endowments is concerned. If Koot Hoomi really possessed the great wisdom with which he is accredited by theosophists, he certainly would have been able to fabricate a more plausible explanation, and one more calculated to favorably impress his readers. There has been, I think no other time in the history of theosophy, since the mahatmas have been introduced to the world on paper, when a greater manifestation of mahatmic wisdom was imperatively called for than was demanded from Koot Hoomi in the explanation of the alleged plagiarism. At this time, above all others, should he have given to the world substantial evidence of his alleged surpassing wisdom, in vindication of himself from the grave charge made against his honesty and truth. His action at this crisis, in this serious emergency, is really the touchstone in gauge of his acquirements; and alas! how weak, how foolish, how miserably unmahatmic was that action! The most credulous theosophist, it seem to me, is forced to acknowledge that in this matter Koot Hoomi "has been weighed in the balance and found wanting." Morally considered, his writings have been found despicable and valueless; and intellectually considered, they are seen to be of no greater value. The alleged surpassing knowledge of the mahatma is proved to be as mythical as is his honor, truth, or integrity. No attention, then, should any sensible person pay to the teachings attributed to him in the works of Mr. Sinnett, Mme. Blavatsky, and others. The doctrines which are published to the world, in his name, about re-incarnation, karma, elementary and elemental spirits, the seven principles of man, devachan, the seven rounds, the various races of man (ethereal, sexless, boneless, hermaphrodite, moon-born, egg-born, sweat-born, etc.), the derivation of the earth from the moon, and all the other nonsensical rubbish, cosmogonic, anthropological, astronomical, philological, mystical, etc., etc., - all these are seen to be devoid of authority, of no value whatever, emanating as they do from an eminently untruthful, deceptive, and tricky source; a source making claim to the possession of the wisdom of the universe while, in truth, all its so-called wisdom of the gods is made up of selections from the mystical, mythological, religious, and scientific literature of the world, dovetailed together with a few fanciful additions and embellishments, the outcome of the vivid imagination of its promulgator; that is, at least nine-nine hundredths of all that is taught as the "Wisdom-Religion" of the mahatmas is plagiarized from Asiatic, European, and American books, while the remaining hundredth, required to unite into seeming harmony the incongruous elements borrowed from such variant sources, may be, and probable is, due to the outre excogitations of the founder and elaborator of the system. So much for the true character of the mahatmas’ teachings as evidenced by the Kiddle plagiarism.


II. What are the true sources of the so-called mahatmas’ teachings, - do they emanate from the alleged adepts, and if not, whence are they derived? I have shown that, granting that the mahatmic teachings do proceed from the adepts, they are false and valueless. But if they do not come from the mahatmas, and these mahatmas are myths, their falsity and lack of value are still further emphasized. In order to be a mahatma, as alleged, one must possess certain powers and endowments of a superlatively exalted order, far removed from those of common humanity. If those powers and endowments are lacking, then the person thus deficient can be no mahatma. The plagiarized letter, the precipitation proof, and the explanation of the plagiarism, - these three are said to be the work of Koot Hoomi as a mahatma, - they are alleged to be his handiwork in his capacity and in the exercise of his peculiar and exceptional powers as a mahatma. My examination and criticism of these documents has shown in a positive manner I think, that all three of these papers are decidedly unmahatmic in character.

First, the plagiarized letter. It is absurd to suppose that a person such as Koot Hoomi is represented to be, possessed of practical omniscience in mundane matters, and conversant with the knowledge and wisdom of the gods, not only as regards this planet but the whole universe, - is it not absurd to think that a being of so exalted character could possibly be guilty of such a petty theft as was certainly committed in his name when the plagiarized letter was sent to Mr. Sinnett? Is it not equally as absurd to suppose that a man with his lofty intellectual endowments, as alleged, would be forced to borrow from the non-mahatmic utterances of a Spiritualist lecturer (one of a class of persons whom he affects to hold in very light esteem), in order to express his opinions concerning the value and results of the phenomena and philosophy of theosophy? It is not conceivable that either morally or intellectually a true mahatma - did such a being exist - could have acted in the manner that the writer of the Sinnett letter assuredly did.

Next, no mahatma could possibly be guilty of forging a document like that precipitation proof, in order to clear himself of a charge of which he was certainly guilty; and third, it is unthinkable that a genuine mahatma could fabricate such a silly and self-evidently false explanation of the Kiddle incident, as that attributed to Koot Hoomi. A mahatma must, by virtue of his being a mahatma, occupy a moral and spiritual plane of so sublime a nature and height, that the bare thought of practicing such meanness, trickery, and falsehood, as has been done in the name of Koot Hoomi in this matter, would never even occur to him. He must also, by virtue of his being a mahatma, possess such towering wisdom, that it would be about as impossible for him to be guilty of such weak and foolish actions as are laid at Koot Hoomi’s door in this case, as it would be for Herbert Spencer and Professor T. H. Huxley, in the plenitude of their mental vigor and intellectual strength, to so debase themselves as to join the Theosophical Society and acknowledge themselves to be believers in the "Secret Doctrine" of Mme. Blavatsky. The entire course of action ascribed to Koot Hoomi in this matter is that which no mahatma could possibly engage in, in any particular; and the fact that such action was done is proof positive that it did not proceed from any mahatma. Therefore, no adept or mahatma has had anything to do with the Kiddle plagiarism. But if the mahatmas are innocent, from whom, then, did the three documents above referred to emanate?

We are informed by Mr. Sinnett that the letters sent to and received from Koot Hoomi by him passed through Mme. Blavatsky as intermediary. Letters for Koot Hoomi from Mr. Sinnett were given to the Madame, and she sent them to the adept in a magical occult manner; and in like manner she received letters from the adepts for Mr. Sinnett. If then the letters said to come from Koot Hoomi did not proceed from him, it necessarily follows that we must look to Mme. Blavatsky for their authorship. The letters in the Kiddle matter certainly did not come from the mahatma, as has been shown; then they emanated from the busy pen of Mme. Blavatsky. That this is the case, as regards the mahatmas’ letters in general, has been further endorsed by the fact that their subject-matter and style of expression agree with known peculiarities of Mme. B.; and also by the still more significant fact that the mahatmic letters contain the same marked peculiarities in the use or misuse of the English language as do the writings of the Madame, in the matter of improper spelling, bad grammar, defective construction, gallicisms, etc. I give a few examples (See Richard Hodgson’s Report on Phenomena connected with Theosophy, pp. 306, 307.)



Your’s, her’s.
Deceaved, beseached.
Cooly (for "coolly").
Conscienciously, hypocricy


Give an advice.
Tolerably well English.
Rather than to yield.
Preventing them to come.
Along hundred of (for "a hundred").
Did not abuse of the situation.
So more the pity for him.
Give an evidence; offering advices.
Very well English.
Rather than to hear.
Preventing the spirits to come.
With hundred others.
Fear of being shown.
So more the pity for those.

Division of the Words at the end of a Line.

Incessan-tly, direc-tly.
Po werless.
Rea-ding, discer-ning.
Recen-tly, hones-tly, perfec-tly.
Retur-ning, trea-ting, grea-test.

Moreover, a number of special peculiarities in the handwriting of Mme. Blavatsky are present in the Koot Hoomi writings. These facts, taken with the demonstration that the letters in the Kiddle matter certainly never came from a mahatma, while they came from the Madame, in the alleged character of intermediary, establish conclusively that the author of the Koot Hoomi letters was none other than Mme. Blavatsky. This is strengthened by the following considerations: The Koot Hoomi letters in the Kiddle case, including the precipitation proof, are saturated with falsehood, deception, trickiness; and for over a dozen years past, falsehood, trickery, deception have been freely imputed to Mme. Blavatsky, in the matter especially of the production of occult phenomena, as in this instance. Her best friends admit that she is addicted to habitual fiction in her conversation, etc. I am in possession of positive evidence that a number of the leading theosophical workers in the world, the head and front of the Society, are aware of and acknowledge that Mme. B. practices deception in occult phenomena and in the production of alleged Koot Hoomi letters. The true source of the mahatmic letters is thus seen to be not the Brothers of Tibet, or the adepts, but Mme. H. P. Blavatsky. This is beyond reasonable doubt.

III. What do these facts indicate as regards the existence or non-existence of the mahatmas? Some leading theosophists, while admitting that most of the letters and the other phenomena attributed to the "Masters" are the work of Mme. Blavatsky and her confederates, nevertheless claim that the adepts do exist, and that a small part of the phenomena does actually proceed from them. To me such a conclusion seems more foolish than the acceptance of the whole as the work of "the Brothers." The latter is at least consistent and understandable. If these "Brothers" exist in Tibet, and are intimately connected with the Theosophical Society, as alleged, they certainly know of the gigantic mass of fraud and falsehood, that for so many years has been practiced in their name; and yet they never protest against it. They quietly assume the responsibility for all that has been done in their name, they condone a load of imposture and deception rarely paralleled in the earth’s history, they still uphold and work for the advancement of the Society in whose interest this great wrong has been committed, and they still fellowship with and sustain the woman who has saddled upon them all the shady transactions and contradictions and absurd doctrines laid to their charge during the last dozen years or more, - in which work she still engages as indefatigably as ever. No true mahatma, did such a being exist, could possibly do this. The fact of being a mahatma, of itself, precludes one from the commission of such low, immoral conduct, saying nothing of its great folly and weakness. If the mahatmas sustain and encourage those guilty of systematic fraud and imposture, they are as guilty in a moral sense as those whom they protect and assist; and therefore being such, they cannot be mahatmas. Ergo, the mahatmas do not exist, - they are creations of the mind of Mme. Blavatsky, to bolster up and father her pretended marvelous knowledge and wonderful occultic powers.

Take the case of this Kiddle matter. The plagiarized letter is published to the world as the production of Koot Hoomi, in a book devoted to the establishment of the existence of the mahatmas, with proofs of their remarkable endowments, as manifested partially through the mediation of Mme. Blavatsky. There are a number of letters in this work claiming to come from Koot Hoomi, just as the Kiddle letter did. These letters are proved to be the work of Mme. Blavatsky; hence Koot Hoomi had nothing to do with the matter in Mr. Sinnett’s book, - the whole thing is an imposition upon Mr. S. by the wily Madame. When the plagiarism was discovered, Koot Hoomi - if he exists - must have been aware of it, and of the preparation of the forged "proof" and of the bogus explanation published in his name. If this mahatma really does exist, think to what a degradation he has been subjected by Mme. Blavatsky. He has been proved a petty plagiarist, a forger of a spurious document gotten up in defense of falsehood, and the writer of an explanation, weak and silly, - one long mass of sickening falsehood and moral putridity. If Koot Hoomi does exist, would he submit to all this, and never attempt to check Mme. B. in her wicked work in his name, fastening upon him these series of misdeeds? Would he allow all these falsehoods to be published to the world in his name, and do nothing to correct them? If he possesses the power ascribed to him, he could easily stop the work being done by the Madame to his disgrace; and that he does not do so is proof that he is not in existence. Besides, if Mme. B. knew that there was an actual Koot Hoomi, as she represents, she would scarcely dare to use his name as she does. The fact that for so many years she has practiced a continuous deception in the name of this adept is conclusive proof that no such person exists. This circumstance, to me, is one of the strongest evidences of the non-existence of the mahatmas. No reasonable doubt can, therefore, obtain as to the mythical character of Koot Hoomi and the other so-called "Brothers" of Tibet.

IV. What is the true nature of the foundations upon which the whole structure of theosophy rests? The teachings of theosophy emanate as a whole from Madame Blavatsky; she is the founder, leader and duly-accredited exponent of the doctrines constituting the philosophy of theosophy. The theosophic teachings in the writings of other persons, such as those of Mr. Sinnett, Col. Olcott, W. Q. Judge, M. M. Chatterji, and the rest, are all based upon the peculiar ideas and theories of Mme. Blavatsky. As W. Q. Judge is reported to have said: "The Theosophical Society is Madame Blavatsky." But whence does the Madame obtain the teachings she promulgates as theosophy? She claims that they are not original with herself, but that they are the veritable oracles of divine wisdom, handed down from the Dhyan Chohans (planetary spirits or creative intelligences), through a long line of adepts, to the present mahatmas, and by the latter transferred to her; in other words, it is claimed that the doctrines of theosophy are, as a whole, derived from the alleged mahatmas of Tibet. The entire system of theosophy is rooted and grounded in the so-called Tibetan adepts. They are, it is claimed, the veritable founders, guardians, and inspirers of the Theosophical Society; the Society is their offspring, and by them it is being reared and nurtured. The raison d’etre of the Society hangs upon the existence of the adepts as adepts, in possession of the powers ascribed to them.

In this connection, I may quote the words of the Countess Wachtmeister, the confidential friend and companion of Madame Blavatsky, and one of the leading theosophists of England. In a letter from her, published in Mr. Sinnett’s "Incidents in the Life of Madame Blavatsky," pp. 317-210, the Countess remarks as follows:

"I have latterly heard among people who style themselves ‘Theosophists,’ expressions which surprised and pained me. Some such persons said that ‘if it was proven that the mahatmas did not exist, it would not matter,’ that theosophy was neverthelest a truth, etc., etc. Such and similar statements have come into circulation in Germany, England and America, but to my understanding they are very erroneous; for, if there were no Mahatmas or Adepts . . . then the teachings of that system which has been called ‘Theosophy’ would be false."

It is thus seen that if there are no adepts, the Theosophical Society necessarily collapses. Establish the non-existence of the mahatmas, and the foundation of the whole theosophical structure are uprooted and overthrown, - the bizarre vagaries of the theosophical culte become as unreal and mythical as the mahatmas upon whom it is upreared. This being true, what becomes of theosophy, in the light of the facts herein before presented? The adepts have been shown to be myths, creations of Madame Blavatsky; therefore the doctrines of theosophy were not derived from the adepts, and therefore, again, these doctrines are not parts of the wisdom-religion handed down from the heavenly hierarchies through successive lines of adepts to the present. It follows therefore, that these doctrines are, in a sense, merely the products of Madame Blavatsky’s mind, and possess no authority whatever due to their having emanated from a supermundane, magical, spiritual, or occultic source; they are proved to be of the earth, earthy. In saying that these doctrines are, in a sense, the products of Mme. B’s mind, it is not meant that they are, to any great extent, original with her; for, as before remarked, they are, as a whole, borrowed by her from the mystical, mythological, religious, and scientific literature of the world, the basic principles thereof being derived mostly from four sources, - the writings of (1) Paracelsus and of (2) Eliphas Levi, and the teachings of (3) Brahmanism and (4) Buddhism, while minor contributions from a variety of sources are dovetailed into the conglomerate patchwork labelled theosophy by her. There is scarcely an idea, theory, doctrine, term, or special phrase of importance, that is contained in the whole of the voluminous writings of Madame Blavatsky and of the other theosophic authors, whose works include alleged mahatmic teachings, of which I cannot point out the source in the world’s literature whence it has been derived, or, to speak more correctly perhaps, plagiarized. No mahatma is needed to father any of the teachings of theosophy; they have all been borrowed from the writings of past ages and of the present; and since their true source is ignored, and the false claim is made that they consist of portions of the Divine Wisdom-Religion which have been imparted to Madame Blavatsky by the adepts, the term "plagiarized" is, I think, fitly descriptive of the alleged mahatmic doctrines.

It is then, established that theosophy is founded upon myth, pretense, falsehood, delusion, plagiarism, fraud, and folly; its entire underpinning is rotten to the core. From the beginning of the theosophic movement in 1875 to the present time, two elements have been paramount in its career, - mendacity and fraud; not monetary or financial fraudulence, but intellectual and phenomenal fraudulence, such as fraudulent teachings, fraudulent adepts, fraudulent psychical manifestations. And as regards mendacity, every department of theosophy has been saturated with it at all times.

I have shown, in this series of papers, how these two elements were regnant in the episode of the Kiddle plagiarism, and this episode is illustrative of the general history of the movement; it is a typical example - somewhat more conspicuous to the general public than the average workings of the Society and its leaders - of the practical operations of the sublime and divine Wisdom-Religion, as manifest in the words and deeds of its founders real and pretended, and of its most active workers and propagandists. As was the character of the Kiddle episode, so was and is that of theosophy and the Theosophical Society in its varied ramifications. In truth, then, can it be said that theosophy is one of the most remarkable and most colossal humbugs of this age, if not the most remarkable and the most colossal; and in the entire circuit of its peculiar history, perhaps there has been no incident more signally probative of its colossal humbuggery than that of Henry Kiddle and the Mahatma.



(1)  Coleman's article was published in the following issues of The Carrier Dove:

May 1890, pp. 41-43;
June 1890, pp. 75-77;
July 1890, pp. 112-113;
August 1890, pp. 146-147;
September 1890, pp. 176-177;
October 1890, pp. 206-208;
November 1890, pp. 245-247;
December 1890, pp. 275-276;
January 1891, pp. 5-6; and
February 1891, pp. 39-41.

(2)  In the July, 1890 issue of The Carrier Dove (p. 113), "A Correction" by William Emmette Coleman was published:

In the June [1890] CARRIER DOVE, in speaking of General H. R. Morgan, I stated that it was he who brought suit against the Coulombs, in India, for slander. My remark to this effect was based upon newspaper statements, several times repeated, and, to my knowledge, never contradicted. I have just received original, contemporaneous documents from India, from which for the first time I learn the actual facts in this matter.

General Morgan charged Madame Coulomb with having forged the letters from Madame Blavatsky, which she (Madame C.) had published. These letters proved Madame Blavatsky to have practiced continuous fraud in the so-called occult and mahatmic phenomena of which the world heard so much in those days. In order to prove the genuineness of the letters, and to get Mme. Blavatsky upon the witness stand in a court of justice, Mme. Coulomb concluded to bring suit against General Morgan for slander. Her attorneys wrote to Genl. Morgan March 25, 1885, threatening him with criminal proceedings if he did not make an apology before April 2, for his slanderous imputations against Mme. Coulomb. Meanwhile Mme. Blavatsky all at once determined to leave India, and she sailed from Madras, April 2, 1885, the very day the suit of Mme. Coulomb was to be instituted. The reason giving for her departure was her dangerous illness. It was claimed that she was afflicted with a "mortal" illness, and could only live a very short time at most; and that the only chance to prolong her life for a few months more was for her to leave India immediately. She has never returned to India since, and it is unlikely that she ever will; at least while there is any chance of her being compelled to appear in a court of law for cross-examination in the matter of the Coulomb correspondence.

The principal object of Mme. Coulomb in bringing suit against Genl. Morgan was to get Mme. Blavatsky upon the witness stand; and this having failed, through her sudden departure for Europe, Mme. Coulomb withdrew her suit against Genl. Morgan. Most timely did Mme. Blavatsky arrange the date of her departure from India, for had she delayed doing so for twenty-four hours more, she would probably have been served with an official summons to appear as a witness in the suit of Mme. Coulomb to demonstrate the genuineness of the letters from Mme. Blavatsky which she had given to the world.

This is another illustration of the untrustworthiness and inaccuracy of newspaper statements; of the danger attending the acceptance of evidence at second hand, at third hand, etc.; and of the difficulty of obtaining absolute truth, as regards matters of fact, in re the affairs of this world.