Sir, - I was surprised to find in "Light," of October 9th, 1886, a
paragraph headed: "Mr. R. Hodgson charged with suppressing evidence." The charge
consists of certain statements made in a letter written by Colonel Olcott to Mr. C.
Reimers, and published by the latter "in The South Australian Register, of
July 23rd last," and "in the interests of truth," as you allege,
you place these statements before the readers of "Light."
Now having, in the account published in Part IX. of the Proceedings of the
Society for Psychical Research, already dealt with all the main cases that had been
previously published of phenomena connected with the Theosophical Society, having there
expressly stated that it would be superfluous to print all the accounts of alleged
"occult phenomena" which I received when in India, having further given
illustrations of other cases which had not been previously published, including sundry
"letter phenomena," and having, moreover, independently exhibited the
unreliability of Colonel Olcotts statements, I do not feel called upon to enter into
any discussion upon his innuendoes that I have suppressed valuable evidence. The manner,
however, in which you lay his charge before the readers of "Light" makes it, I
think, desirable that in the present instance I should indicate the absurdity of the
And I may first point out that there is another passage in the letter of Colonel Olcott
from which you quote, and which, therefore, I presume you have read, which is enough to
show any discerning reader familiar with the facts of the case involved, that Colonel
Olcotts estimate of evidence is untrustworthy. The passage is as follows:
"You have also shown me that such incidents as the apparent plagiarism of Mr.
Kiddles language in a K. H. letter have no evidential value in support
of a theory of conscious fraud, by citing to me the startling fact that in the great
Handels oratorios there are whole choruses, note by note, by Stradella -
a composer who died a half-century before his time. Surely it would be an impertinent
sceptic who should aver that he whom Beethoven styled the greatest composer that
ever lived had consciously plagiarised from Stradella, an inferior genius! How many
examples are there not of this unintentional literary appropriation, not merely noted in
mediumistic annals, but in those of general literature?"
To those who remember the details of the "Kiddle
incident," as discussed in the columns of "Light" in 1884 - and
especially Mr. C. C. Masseys able criticism of the incident in the number for July
26th, his letter in the number for October 18th, and the editorial
remarks appended to Mr. Kiddles letter in the number for September 20th -
to those, I say, who remember these details, Colonel Olcotts estimate of evidence,
as exhibited even in the above quotation, will scarcely appear reliable enough to form the
foundation of such a charge as you have thought proper to lay before the readers of
I may now deal with the specific charge itself, which runs as follows:
"Mr. Hodgson suppressed an account - capable of verification by Postal Department
and other proofs - of an Astral flight, or psychic journey, of Mr. D.s
from Cawnpore to Madras on the night of November 4th, 1883, and of the
transportation of a certain letter (to me from a gentleman in Italy) from Madame
Blavatsky, which very letter was posted to me to Aligarh, N.W.P., on the morning of
November 5th, at Adyar, by Madame Blavatsky, and duly reached Aligarh on the 10th,
in regular course of post, where I found it on the 12th. This is so irrefutable
a case, so outside of the possibility of any theory of collusion or deception, and it so
upsets the plan to impeach Mr. Damodars veracity and integrity, that it was quietly
I now proceed to explain this case.
EXTRACTS FROM COLONEL OLCOTTS
November 4th, 1883. "Received among other letters one for K. H.,
from Sam Ward, from Capri, and gave it to D. K. M. to forward."
November 12th, 1883. "Lectured on The Evils of the Times
and their Remedy. Letter writing all around. (See supplementary entry on 4th
inst. about letter for K. H.) To-day this very letter, in one from H. P. B. posted at
Madras on the 5th inst., and received at the Aligarh post office on the
10th in a registered cover, was delivered to me from the post office where it
had been lying two days awaiting my arrival. Thus between the P.M. of the 4th
and the morning of the 5th (for the northern mail closes at three p.m. at
Adyar), the letter had been taken by D. K. M. to K. H. at M.------, and sent thence to
Adyar - a most beautiful phenomenon, and of the very (same) physical character as the
transportation of the London Times on the day of publication demanded of us by C.
C. M. and A. P. S."
NOTE, BY DAMODAR, TO
THE ABOVE EXTRACTS.
I have read the above, and certify to its correctness. Colonel Olcott gave me a letter
for the MAHATMA from Mr. Ward on the 4th of November, while I
was travelling with him in the N.W.P. in 1883, which was enclosed in a letter sent by
Madame Blavatsky from Adyar on the 5th idem, received at Aligarh on the 10th,
and delivered to Colonel Olcott on the 12th idem, immediately on our arrival at
REMARKS OF MY OWN WRITTEN BELOW
THE ABOVE NOTE
"When Colonel Olcott first showed me the entry in the diary, I inquired if he
received the letter himself from the post-man. He replied: Of course, it would be
brought to me directly by the peon.
"They arrived at Aligarh on the 11th, as is proved by Colonel
Olcotts diary, and Colonel Olcott received the letter on the 12th.
Damodar asserts in reply to my inquiries that sometimes the letters were delivered to
himself, sometimes to Colonel Olcott, but on this occasion they were delivered to Colonel
What then is the wonderful evidence for Damodars "astral flight"?
Colonel Olcott assumes that the letter which he found in an envelope at Aligarh on
November 12th must have been in the envelope when this was at Adyar on November
5th; and as the letter which he had given to Damodar on November 4th
could not have been conveyed to Adyar by November 5th in the ordinary course,
Damodar must have taken an "astral flight" and the letter must have been
Plainly, all that was required for the production of the "phenomenon"
described by Colonel Olcott in such glowing terms in his diary, was that Damodar should
have kept the letter in question when it was given to him on November 4th, and
fraudulently inserted it in the envelope which Colonel Olcott received on November 12th.
1, Furnivals Inn, Holborn, E.C.
October 12th, 1886.