Published by Blavatsky Study Center. Online Edition copyright 2004.


by V. Coopooswamy Iyer

[Reprinted from the Supplement to The Theosophist
(Adyar, Madras, India), February 1884, p. 30.]

In these days of scepticism and unbelief, the following testimony to a phenomenon, not capable of being explained on any theory of trick or fraud, will not be without use in exciting at least a spirit of calm inquiry in reasonable minds.

On the 24th of November Mr. S. Ramaswamier and myself, both went to the Adyar Head-quarters at about 9 P.M. We found Madame Blavatsky seated in the verandah in front of the main building conversing with General and Mrs. Morgan and Miss Flynn, then on a visit to the Head quarters, and a number of Chelas and officers of the Theosophical Society. After about an hour’s conversation there, Mme. B. wished good night to our European brethren and went upstairs to her own room, asking us to follow her thither. Accordingly we went up. There were seven in all in the room, which was lighted. Madame B. seated herself facing west on a chair near a window in the north-eastern corner of the room, S. R. and myself sat on the floor, one behind the other, right in front of and facing Mme. B., close by an open shelf in the wall on our left. Babu Mohini Mohun Chatterji, M. A., B. L., (Solicitor, Calcutta,) Messrs. Bawajee, Ananda, and Balai Chand Mallik, also seated on the floor near us, opposite the wall-shelf and facing it. What had originally been a window was closed with a thick wooden plank, which on careful examination I found was immovably fixed to the window frame and thus converted into a wall-shelf with two cross boards. The plank behind was hung and the boards were covered and ornamented with black oil cloth and fringe. About half an hour after conversation began, while S. R. was talking about certain important matters concerning himself and the others were listening, a slight rustle of the oil cloth, hanging in the back of the middle compartment of the wall shelf, was observed by the four gentlemen seated opposite the same. From it, immediately after, was extruded a large hand more brown in complexion than white, dressed in a close fitting white sleeve, holding an envelope between the thumb and the forefinger. The hand came just opposite my face and over the back of S. R.’s head, a distance of about two yards from the wall, and at a jerk dropped the letter which fell close by my side. All, except S. R., saw the phantom hand drop the letter. It was visible for a few seconds, and then vanished into air right before our eyes. I picked up the envelope which was made of Chinese paper evidently, and inscribed with some characters which I was told were Tibetan. I had seen the like before with S. R. Finding the envelope was addressed in English to ‘Ramaswamy Iyer," I handed it over to him. He opened the envelope and drew out a letter. Of the contents thereof I am not permitted to say more than that they had immediate reference to what S. R. was speaking to us rather warmly about, and that it was intended by his Guru as a check on his vehemence in the matter. As regards the handwriting of the letter, it was shown to me, and I readily recognized it as the same that I had seen in other letters shown me long before by S. R. as having been received from his Guru (also Mad. B.’s master). I need hardly add that immediately after I witnessed the above phenomenon, I examined the shelf wall, plank, boards and all inside and outside with the help of a light, and was thoroughly satisfied that there was nothing in any of them to suggest the possibility of the existence of any wire, spring, or any other mechanical contrivance by means of which the phenomenon could have been produced.

V. Coopooswamy Iyer, M A., F. T. S.
Pleader, Madura.

27th November 1883.