SPIRITUALISTIC MORALS IN LONDON
[The Theosophist, Vol. III, No. 10, July, 1882, p. 25l]
[Replying to a correspondent’s letter on this subject H.P.B. wrote:]
It never, for one moment, entered our thoughts to imply that the “majority of London Spiritualists” were either depraved or immoral. We deny it. What we wrote in so many words was that this “majority” in their dangerous blindness and overconfidence in the powers controlling mediums, would be always attracting Piśachas, and that unconsciously, since they are ignorant of their true nature. Not all of these Piśachas are necessarily bad “Spirits,” nor are they all Incubi and Succubi. But of what nature, we ask, can be, for instance, a “Spirit,” who “emits such a cadaverous offensive smell” as to make every person present at the séance “sick at stomach”? We have it from Miss Emily Kislingbury ( a lady whose veracity no one would ever doubt) who often told us about this London female Piśacha, materializing through a lady medium who must remain unnamed. We have never been present at a materializing séance in London; therefore, we know nothing of such; yet we have a right to judge by analogy, since we are thoroughly well acquainted with American mediums and their séance rooms, and that a great percentage of the most celebrated mediums in London are Americans.
What we have said in our leading editorial [“A Storm in a Teacup” above] is quite sufficient to define our position and exonerate us from any such vile thought in connection with the educated London Spiritualists. But as regards America hardly three years ago, it is quite another affair, and we maintain our denunciation at the risk of, and notwithstanding all the protests and filth that is sure to be poured on our heads for it, by some spiritual organs
of that country. We speak but the truth, and feel ready to suffer, and are prepared for it; aye, ready even for something more terrible than the cheap abuse and numerous libellous stories told about us by some amiable American contemporaries.
If, thereby, we can warn and save but one honest sincere Spiritualist, out of the alleged twenty millions or more of believers of Europe and America, that abuse will do us good. And that—as concerns the United States at least—we have said nothing but the truth, facts and history are there to support our statements. There were, and still are (unless we have been misinformed) communities in New York which bear fancy Greek names—as, for example, that of Stephen Pearl Andrews—the “Pantarch,” whose members are mediums and whose moral code is based upon the filthy doctrine of Free Love. Of this school Mrs. Woodhull and Miss Claflin were chief female apostles; and it is not only a common rumour, but a fact—corroborated by numerous publications in the Woodhull and Claflin’s Weekly, a journal conducted by these two famous sisters for several consecutive years—that their pernicious doctrines were derived, as alleged by themselves, from spiritual “controls.” These had wide acceptance among, and were largely put into practice by the Spiritualists. And there were, as we were informed, secret lodges, or Agapae, where the genuine Black Magic of Asia was taught by the late P. B. Randolph, and sensuality was at least preached and advocated—as everyone can see by reading any one of the numerous works of this man of genius finally driven by his Piśachas—to suicide. Also there were and are male and female mediums—public and private who boasted publicly and in our hearing of marital relationships with materialized Spirits, and—in the case of the Rev. T. L. Harris, the great poet, mystic and Spiritualist—alleged parentage is claimed of children begotten by him in a revolting union with his “Spirit-wife.” All this is History. If we knew as much about European Spiritualists, we would not shrink from saying so. But as we do not know it and never said so, we deny the imputation altogether.