Articles by H. P. Blavatsky

Spiritualism at Simla

An esteemed young English lady of Simla, interested in Occultism, sends us some interesting narratives of psychological experiences which may safely be copied by our Western contemporaries. Our correspondent is perfectly trustworthy and has a place in the highest social circle. We hope to give from time to time many examples of similar mystical adventure by Europeans in Eastern countries.

Among other papers promised for the THEOSOPHIST is one by a British officer, upon curious phase of bhuta worship among a very primitive Indian tribe; and another upon the same custom, in another locality, by a well-known Native scholar. The value of such articles as these latter is that they afford to the psychologist material for comparison with the current Western mediumistic phenomena. Heretofore, there have been, we may say, very few observations upon East Indian spiritualism, of any scientific value. The observers have mainly been incompetent by reason of either bigotry, moral cowardice, or sceptical bias. The exceptions have but proved the rule. Few, indeed, are they who, seeing psychical phenomena, have the moral courage to tell the whole truth about them.



There is a bangalow in Kussowlie called 'The Abbey;' and one year some friends of mine had taken this house for a season, and I went to stay with them for a short while. My friends told me the house was haunted by the ghost of a lady, who always appeared dressed in a white silk dress. This lady did really live, a great many years ago, and was a very wicked woman, as far as I remember the story. Whether she was murdered, or whether she put an end to herself, I cannot say, but she was not buried in consecrated ground, and for this reason, it was said, her spirit cannot rest. Her grave may be seen by anybody, for it is still at Kussowlie. When my friends told me this I laughed, and said I did not believe in ghosts; so they showed me a small room divided from the drawing-room by a door, which they told me was an especial pet of the ghost's; and that after it got dark, they always had to keep it shut and they dared me to go into that room at l0 P. M. one night. I said I would; so at 10 P. M. I lighted a candle, and went into the room. It was small, had no cupboards, and only one sofa, and one table in the centre. I looked under the table and under the sofa, then I shut the door, and blowing out my candle, sat down to await the appearance of the ghost. In a little while I heard the rustle of a silk dress, though I could see nothing. I got up, and backed towards the door, and as I backed, I could feel something coming towards me. At last I got to the door and threw it wide open and rushed into the drawing room, leaving the door wide open to see if the ghost would follow after me. I sat down by the fire, and in a little while, my courage returning, I thought I would go again into the little room; but upon trying the door, I found it was fast shut, and I could not open it, so I went to bed. Another evening, a lady friend and I were sitting at a small round table with a lamp, reading; all of a sudden the light was blown out, and we were left in the dark. As soon as lights could be procured, it was found that the globe of the lamp had disappeared, and from that day to this, it has never been found. The ghost walks over the whole house at night, and has been seen in different rooms by different people. Kussowlie is between 30 and 40 miles away from Simla, in the direction of the plains.

I may also tell you of something that came under the observation of my mother, some twenty years ago. An acquaintance of hers, a young Mr. W----, was on a ship which in a terrific gale was wrecked on an island off the coast of Africa. News of the disaster was brought to England by another ship and it was supposed that every soul on board had been lost. Mr. W----'s relatives went into mourning, but his mother would not, for she was convinced that he had escaped. And as a matter of record she put into writing an account of what she had seen in a dream. The whole scene of the shipwreck had appeared to her as though she were an eye-witness. She had seen her son and another man dashed by the surf upon a rock whence they had managed to crawl up to a place of safety. For two whole days they sat there without food or water, not daring to move for fear of being carried off again by the surges. Finally they were picked up by a foreign vessel and carried to Portugal, whence they were just then taking ship to England. The mother's vision was shortly corroborated to the very letter; and the son, arriving at home, said that if his mother had been present in body she could not have more accurately described the circumstances.



The events I shall now relate occurred in a family of our acquaintance. A Mr. P---- had lost by consumption a wife whom be devotedly loved, and, one after another, several children. At last but one daughter remained, and upon her, naturally enough, centered all his affections. She was a delicate girl, and being threatened with the same fate which had so cruelly carried away her mother and sisters, her father took her to live in Italy for change of climate. This girl grew to be about 17 or 18 when the father had to go over to London on business; so he left her with friends, and many and strict were his injunctions to them as to how she was to be looked after, and taken care of. Well, he went, and whilst he was away, a fancy ball was to take place, to which these friends were going, and which of course, the girl also wished to attend. So they all wrote over to the father and begged and entreated she should be allowed to go, promising that they would take great care of her, and see that she did not get a chill, Much against his will, the poor man consented, and she went to the ball. Some little time after, the father was awakened one night, by the curtains at the foot of his bed being drawn aside, and there, to his astonishment, stood his daughter, in her fancy dress. He could not move, or say anything, but he looked at her attentively. She smiled, closed the curtains, and disappeared. He jumped up in great agitation, put down the date and the hour, and then wrote to Italy, asking after his daughter's health, giving a description of her dress and ornaments. Poor man; the next thing he heard was that the young lady had caught cold and died the very night she appeared to him in London. The friends said that even had he seen the dress, he could not have described everything more minutely.



Since the THEOSOPHIST is collecting authenticated stories of ghosts, I may tell you of a personal adventure of mine when I was a midshipman on board Her Majesty's frigate -----. One of the sailors in the larboard watch had been washed overboard in a storm, as he was clinging for life to one of the boats. The affair had been quite forgotten, when a hue and cry was raised that there was a ghost near this boat, and none of the men would go near the place after dark. Several, if not all of the men had seen it. I laughed at the story, however, for I had not a whit of confidence in these nonsensical tales of ghosts. So, some of our mess who pretended to have seen the apparition, dared me to go up to it at night and accost it. I agreed to go, and took my revolver, loaded, with me. When at the appointed hour, I came near the boat, there certainly did seem to be a mist, or shadow which looked like a man, and this shadow turned and looked at me. I did not give it time to look twice before I fired two shots at it. Imagine, if you can, my feeling, when the shadow gently glided under the boat, (which was bottom upwards,) and disappeared. When this thing looked at me, I cannot tell you why, but I felt quite cold, and odd, and if it was not a ghost, it looked very like one. At any rate, I had had enough of shooting at it. My adventure of course greatly deepened the superstitious feeling among the sailors; and so, as the spectre was seen again the next night, they just tossed that boat overboard, and then they were never troubled further.

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