Published by Blavatsky Study Center. Online Edition copyright 2004.

Blavatsky’s Mesmerism

by Laura C. Holloway

[Reprinted from Current Literature (New York) March 1889, pp. 243-244.]

Mme. Blavatsky could produce a sound like the chime of bells, low and sweet, but perfectly clear, and these were heard by us all under various conditions. She would know what was going on in other parts of the building, and one day reproached one of the party for something that was said in the park, fully a mile away from the castle. Her hostess said that Mme. B. had not left her room all the afternoon. I remember an occasion when I excused myself to go to my room to write. In the evening when we all assembled in the drawing-room, I was astonished to have her say to me: "You have not written to-day. I saw you idling the time away." It was true that I had sat at the large window the entire afternoon, looking out upon the hills, watching the clouds and pondering over many things. Mme. Blavatsky had been much in my thoughts, as I considered the question - a grave one to me - of remaining longer with the party or of returning to England. She knew by some means what had been agitating my mind, and said to me as we passed down the stairs: "You will go back with me." I said to myself that I would not, but events so shaped themselves that I did travel back to London in her company.

She seemed to divine the future in many ways, and sometimes when she made prophecies, it was dreadful to hear her voice, she would be so excited and vehement. Curious study she was; curious things she did. Her powers were phenomenal and were exhibited without premeditation. With no ambition, no home, no home ties, no strong attachments, she seemed alone in the world, and was in many respects the most indifferent person I ever knew. Reckless in statement, defiant in action, she made enemies without thought and pained those who loved her with apparent indifference. Sometimes it would be my confidential opinion that she mesmerized those about her when she desired, but never could prove it.

Her heart was not such a hard one, but she cared very little for manifestations of affection. She was alone in some sphere of her own, and none could know her intimately. I have been in the room with her when I felt her real self to be far away, and have seen her look at strangers once and talk of them as though their past lives were all before her.

She sat at the desk writing one day when I entered her room without an invitation, and, putting on a bold front, walked directly to her with a sealed letter in my hand, which I had written to the gurat, or teacher, who had sent me letters through her. "I want an answer to this letter, and I have come to ask you to send it, Madam." She railed at me, flew into a rage, demanded to know by what right I intruded upon her and ordered her to send letters to the Mahatmas. When she had concluded I quietly asked her to send it, adding that it was important. "Nothing that concerns the emotions of people is important," she retorted. "You all think that if you make a prayer it must have an immediate personal response from Jehovah. I am tired of nonsense." I coolly laid the letter on the table, sat down near to and facing her, and looked at my letter. She opened a drawer of the desk, which I saw was empty, and told me to put it there, I pushed the letter from the table into it and closed it myself. She leaned back in her chair, looked with some interest at me, and remarked that my will was developing. I told her that I had staked much in writing the letter, and its reply would influence my future course. Impelled by a sudden feeling I asked her if the letter had not gone, and not waiting for her to reply, I pulled open the drawer and it was not there. I looked for it carefully everywhere, called in a lady from the next room and told her the circumstance, and we looked again, but did not find the letter.

Days after I met Mme. Blavatsky in the hall as she was going out to drive with one of the guests, and she put out her hand for me to assist her down the step. As I took her hand, I smilingly said, "Where’s my letter?" She looked at me steadily for a moment, and it suddenly occurred to me, but why I do not know, that it was answered. I ran my hand into the pocket of my dress and there was a letter folded and sealed in a Chinese envelope. I have it now and sometimes I read it over for the instruction I get from it. Earnest and honest in tone, wise in counsel and friendly in spirit, though foretelling trouble and perplexity enough to sadden the future, I valued it then and do now, for, whatever the source from whence it came, it was what I needed and I was thankful to get it.

The world has abused her more than almost any other woman of her day. She is an object of suspicion not only to individuals, but to governments, and she is defended by those who would count it a privilege to die for her. To a person who once asked her who she was, she said, with much simplicity of manner: "I am an old Buddhist pilgrim, wandering about the world to teach the only true religion, which is truth."