[The Theosophist, Vol. V, No. 6(54), March, 1884, pp. 147-148]
From a private letter to our energetic friend, Mrs. Parker, from Professor J. R. Buchanan, we learn that that distinguished gentleman is engaged in preparing for the press a work upon Psychometry. His wife, who is one of the best psychometers living, is, he writes, “continually furnishing material for illustration. Yesterday, she described El Mahdi, the Mohammedan leader and prophet of the Sudan. She says he is a great seer and has a remarkable future—being a superior man.”
The writer has enjoyed the friendship and appreciated the rare intellectual endowments of Prof. Buchanan for about thirty years, and has always deeply regretted that he has never taken the trouble to produce a treatise upon the beautiful and supremely important science of which he was the modern re-discoverer. Beyond devoting to it a chapter in his work upon Anthropology—published more than a quarter century ago, and an occasional article in his long-extinct Journal of Man, he has not given it, so far as we are aware, any special attention. To Professor and Mrs. Denton, not to the Discoverer, are we indebted for an elucidation of the subject; yet though the Soul of Things is in three volumes, and their contents are most interesting, the reader scarcely finds that full elucidation of the psychometric faculty and how to develope and sustain it, which is needed. If Prof. Buchanan cares for a world-wide circulation for his promised book, he would do well to make it in one volume of 400 to 500 pages, and put it at a price that will not be prohibitory. We have already some thousands of English reading Theosophists in Asia alone, and feel perfectly sure that the book would be welcomed eagerly if of the form described. Psychometry embodies even more potentialities for instructing and elevating average humanity than Clairvoyance. While the latter faculty is most rare, and more rarely still to be found, unless accompanied by a tendency in the clairvoyant to
self-deception and the misleading of others, by reason of imperfect control over the Imagination, the psychometer sees the secrets of the Akasa by the “Eye of Siva,” while corporeally awake and in full possession of his bodily senses. A perfectly independent clairvoyant one may meet with once or twice in a lifetime, but psychometers abound in every circle of society, nay, may be found in almost every house.
Much shameless abuse of ourselves has at different times come into the press from American sources—chiefly from Spiritualists, who have shown very bad judgment in making themselves so contemptible. It is all the more gratifying to read the following remarks upon us and our movement by Professor Buchanan—himself one of the most respected authorities in the American spiritualistic world:—
I love the tropical climates and people and hope some day to have a good time in India. I have been interested in the progress of my friends Mme. Blavatsky and Col. Olcott, and have sent them copies of my book—Moral Education.* In looking over The Theosophist I perceive what a grand field has been successfully occupied, and I rejoice that Blavatsky and Olcott escaped from the atmosphere of New York. Our country is very largely the land of materialism, avarice, and sometimes hypocritical selfishness; we are amidst a counterfeit Christianity, a stolid science, and a vast area of human littleness. But still there are many bright souls here and there and they are the leaven of the future.
This is equally the case in every other country, it would seem. Ex uno disce omnes.
[The work of Dr. J. R. Buchanan, spoken of above, was published by him in Boston, in 1885, under the title of Manual of Psychometry: the dawn of a new civilization. As to his work on Anthropology, H. P. B. probably has in mind one of his earliest works, entitled: Outlines of lectures on the neurological system of anthropology, as discovered, demonstrated and taught in 1841 and 1842. Cincinnati: printed at the Office of the Journal of Man 1854.—Compiler.]
* Noticed in The Theosophist for December, 1883, page 101. [See pp. 45-48 of the present volume.—Comp.]