Obituary The Hodgson Report on Madame Blavatsky

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Obituary The Hodgson Report on Madame Blavatsky

By W.A. Carrithers

The Almirah


During the period of Shrine-phenomena attributed by Dr. Hodgson to surreptitious entry from the recess, the recess held in turn; firstly, the almirah, brought from Bombay (52); next, the "wooden boarding"; lastly, a "bricked frame."

Without the necessary sliding panel in the back of the almirah, if for no other reason, such secret access was impossible during most of this time, when the almirah stood within the recess.  Besides other requirements, such a panel had to:  (a) then exist; (b) be constructed so as to escape or defy inspection; (c) correspond in position with the alleged shrine-and-wall passageway.

1. Hodgson had only the Coulombs' word that the sliding panel shown by Mons. Coulomb in the almirah, May 18, 1884, had existed in 1883; nor did Hodgson claim his inspection of it in any way discredited previous examination showing the panel was "evidently new".

2. That this almirah-panel could not have escaped discovery had it existed in the recess is evident from Mme. Coulomb's assertion (suppressed by Hodgson, discredited as it was by H.P.B.'s undisputed removals of the almirah when requested) that H.P.B. was fearful lest she be "asked by some one to have the almirah removed to inspect the back of it" (54).

3. At the "exposure," it was found that, pursuant to H.P.B.'s instructions (77), Mons. Coulomb had built a north-south partition separating bedroom and sitting-room,  [18] a partition stopping short of where the almirah stood as if permanently situated, beside the northwall with its back and sliding-panel exposed to view from the sitting-room.  Strange behaviour if H.P.B. feared lest someone "inspect the back of it"!

4. Ignoring this, Hodgson also failed to explain why such a trick panel, if retired from use by November, 1883 (222), would go neglected until May, 1884, dangerously inviting discovery and exposure, when the alleged conspirators had every motive and opportunity to remove it.

5. Significantly, Hodgson made no claim that either the vertical or horizontal placement of this panel was aligned with the assumed shrine-wall passageway.

6. As if to conceal his own measurements of this panel's size and position, Hodgson also made the almirah "vanish."  Unlike the Plan previously published by Hartmann ("absurdly inaccurate," according to Hodgson [19] ), his own Plan simply omits the almirah.



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