Obituary The Hodgson Report on Madame Blavatsky

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Obituary The Hodgson Report on Madame Blavatsky

By W.A. Carrithers

Location of the Shrine


Equally irresponsible is Hodgson's charge that "the position selected for the Shrine was peculiarly convenient for obtaining secret access to it from the back" (226).

1. That the wall behind it was also the "party-wall" of H.P.B.'s bedroom is less of a coincidence than that this was the east wall of the Occult Room, and, conformable with occult ritual and Asiatic custom (which Hodgson ignored), the Shrine was to hang in the east.

2. That the Shrine was positioned partly before the wall's "thin" portion, then backing an open recess (220), accords with:  (a) the evidence and Hodgson's testimony (221, 327) --- not with his Plan --- which show the Shrine was positioned symmetrically with reference to this whole wall, their vertical centerlines conjoining this portion; (b) had it, instead, been located before a closed full-depth section of the wall, suspicion would have arisen that the wall concealed a recess enclosing a conjuror, an objection not so easy to put down.

3. As if to enhance this alleged convenience, Hodgson (see Plate II) put in the northwall of the bedroom a "DOOR", appropriately concealed (by curtains) from the Sitting-Room where H.P.B. entertained prospective converts.  As if to give assurance that a confederate could pass here unheard as much as unseen, there appears across the doorway the representation of a curtain.  Compare this representation with the same appearing at the front of the recess in the northwall of the Sitting Room, denoting "curtains" (346). [16]  But Hodgson gave no evidence a doorway was there then, and certainly no passageway was there before mid-December, 1883, when the bedroom could be entered only by "passing through the drawing-room" (326) --- for a confederate's surreptitious entry into the recess, "peculiarly convenient," indeed!

4. Having thus provided a "DOOR" for the convenience of Mons. Coulomb, alleged confederate (323), Hodgson forthwith produces a "new room" peculiarly convenient for Mme. Coulomb who, disguised "as a Mahatma," once "passed away at the east side of the balcony, departing into the new room", according to this report (243) of her claims.  His Plan (see Plate II), showing this structure, purports to represent conditions existing some time between December 15, 1883 and "about or shortly before the middle of January, 1884" (222-23).  But this "NEW ROOM" was only built later, after H.P.B. left for Europe, 1884,  [17] and on February 1, 1884, "the wood required for the new room" was not even yet obtained (77)!  Thoughtfully, Hodgson did not bother his readers with this contrary evidence.



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