Theosophical History Conference 2003

The Many Lives of Mabel Collins

Kim Farnell

Mabel Collins is remembered today, when at all, as being the author of the spiritual work Light on the Path. Few people realise that she was a prolific author, penning at least 46 books. She wrote a number of articles, some of which were to form the basis for her books and was also a fashion correspondent for The World, writing a regular column. Most of Mabel's novels are romantic sensation fiction. In later years her experiences in the occult and theosophy were used as a basis for her fiction writing. 

Mabel’s name pops up again and again in theosophical histories. Yet no one knew much about here – in fact I have seen it written that her life was a complete mystery. Like many of these mysteries the information is there as soon as you begin to look. Mabel Collins was an instrumental figure in early theosophy but owing to the disputes she was involved in she has more or less disappeared from the history books. She was an author, a medium, a theosophist, the lover of Jack the Ripper, a fashion writer, an anti vivisection campaigner...the list is a lot longer than that of most people’s achievements.