Theosophical Notes, October 1953.

"Astral Journeys"

    Fate is one of several new journals which specialize in collecting the outre and particularly the "occult."  It is not particular as to documentary substantiation, but in the main the incidents related seem authentic by internal evidence and correlation with a huge mass of recorded incidents, as well as the laws of the occult world set forth in Theosophy.  (As to facts:  the meanings given them are often something else.)
    In the number for November, under the above title, Fate includes some incidents, one in particular of which is of special interest:

    Some years before the turn of the century the late Dr. Thaddeus Pomeroy Hyatt, then an eager young dentist and later a man of considerable distinction, was strolling in lower Manhattan when he noticed two older men walking slowly and engaged in serious conversation.  He recognized one of the men as a fellow member of the Theosophical Society.  The other was a stranger.

    It developed that the stranger, a Mr. Everett, had financial problems with people in Buenos Aires, and had need of knowing what they were doing, unknown to them.  The Society member (whose name is not given,) it appears was quite a hypnotist.  He proposed to hypnotize Hyatt and send him astrally to Buenos Aires to look into the matter.    Omitting unnecessary details, the narrative continues:

    With no effort whatever, Mr. Hyatt told me over a half century later, he passed through the walls of the building and found himself in a large room, where several people were in serious conversation.  Every detail of the room, of the people, and of their conversation, was reported to Mr. Everett exactly as the doctor's astral senses saw and heard them.  Satisfied with the information, the hypnotist was asked to return Dr. Hyatt to his physical body and awaken him ... He barely had started homeward when a sense of dread swept over him.  He felt impelled to look backward.  He saw, directly behind him, a menacing black cloud that appeared to be overtaking him.  Frightened, Dr. Hyatt increased his speed.  Again he looked back.  The black cloud was roiling angrily and seemed to have increased its speed in an intense effort to reach him.  Panic-stricken, the doctor frantically put on an enormous burst of speed in order to reach the safety of his physical body in New York before the unknown horror could catch up with him.

    Shaking and sweating, as from a terrifying nightmare, Dr. Hyatt awoke on the sofa beside his friend and Mr. Everett, and told them of his race with the evil-appearing black cloud.

    Mr. Everett thanked the two men warmly for their service because, he said, the information obtained was sufficient for him to act upon.  He then cautioned both of them to keep secret all that had transpired.

    It was several days before the nervous shock of his terrifying experience wore off, Dr. Hyatt told me.

    On the ninth day following his journey through space, Dr. Hyatt was surprised to receive a letter postmarked in England, and dated the same day as that on which he made his astral visit to Buenos Aires.  In growing amazement he read the astonishing letter that was brief and to the point, and which   went something like this, as best I can now remember the doctor's oral quotation:

    "Dear Sir:  What you have just done is a most foolish thing.  Only by the narrowest of margins did you avoid suffering the occupation of your physical body by an evil entity which, had it been successful in taking possession before your astral body returned safely, would have left you in disembodied anguish.   Do not, I beg of you, submit yourself to such peril again.

    "I am, etc.,    H.P.B."

    H.P.B. - Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, founder of the Theosophical Society!  How had this gifted woman known of the doctor's strange astral journey to Buenos Aires - and on the same day?  Dr.Hyatt was dumbfounded.  He carefully examined the letter and the envelope.  There was no doubt of it.  It had come from England and had been dated the day of the astral journey.  But how?  Who had informed her?

    Dr. Hyatt, shaken, brought his hypnotist friend and Mr. Everett together and showed them the strange letter.  Each was amazed and each swore he had not revealed to anyone the happenings of the hypnotic experiment.  The only conclusion they could reach was that the leader of the theosophical movement had psychically observed the adventure.  Dr. Hyatt sat down and wrote a letter of thanks to the great woman, and promised to avoid further participation in dangerous experiments.  It was in Honolulu, Hawaii, shortly before World War II broke out that Dr. Hyatt told me of his astral experience.

    "Obviously," he said, "it was an extremely foolish thing for a brash, uninformed young man to do.  I knew nothing of the dangers involved nor of any means to protect myself from them."

    The mutual friend who introduced me (the author) to Dr. Hyatt in Hawaii, and started a friendship that continued by letter through the years until the doctor's death, was the late Bill Sabin, humorist, water colorist, and then dean of Hawaii newspapermen.

    Sabin relates several occasions on which he also did some astral travelling.  We are writing the Editor of Fate as follows:

    Dear Mr. Webster:    Your article on astral journeys in the November number attracted very considerable interest on our part.  We are sorry the letter from Madame Blavatsky could not have been reproduced;  Dr. Hyatt must have preserved it carefully, and we wonder whether some search might not be made for it among his relatives?

    However, we are not disposed to argue the authenticity of the incident.  These things happen;  they happen in the manner described.  H.P. B., if she cared to comment, would have commented in those terms, and she had the powers indicated.     She would probably have wished to comment, because it was a member of her own Society, going against her own strict policy, who got Hyatt   into danger;  and she had a keen sense of responsibility in those matters.  We have studied these matters for a good many years from various sources, including private happenings.  For instance, a close friend of ours was once hypnotized in boyhood and sent on an errand somewhat similar to Hyatt's.

    What arouses our concern is that the article itself gives several processes for astral projection, any one of which can work, according to the idiosyncracy of the individual;  and any one of which can also work disaster.  (The so-called protective measures attached to some of them are so much dangerous, misleading bunk.)  Hyatt himself was in triple jeopardy.  He had allowed himself to be hypnotized, a dangerous proceeding under any condition;  he was on an astral projection, also dangerous, with or without hypnotism;  and he was mixing up the occult and the financial, a powerful bid for trouble in any language.

    Not only "evil entities" - of which there are several categories - are concerned.  A number of happenings may break or damage the extended astral cord, in which case, death or insanity results.  Madame Blavatsky stated that a large number of cases of death in sleep, or unexplained insanity, are due to such excursions, taken knowingly or unknowingly.  The mere power of suggestion can play a strong part.  We know one case of a  spontaneous projection brought on merely by reading one of Muldoon's books.  The faculty for astral projection is not a healthy one.  It occurs as the result of disease, open or latent;  if no disease is present, and attempts are made to force the faculty, all kinds of trouble, physical and mental, can result.

    We wish to point out the case of Sylvan Muldoon himself.  We have been familiar with his writings for many years.  Without doubt he was ore of the most extensive astral travelers on record.  He was also one of the most confirmed invalids with one of the most hopelessly depressed mentalities.  He claimed that the process of living was an infliction upon mankind, for which there was no excuse, in which there was no hope or benefit.  Now we ask whether such a physical and mental condition on the part of the man who had about the most extensive practical experience in that line, is not reason for deep thought and extreme caution?  (Muldoon was fortunate in not having much affinity for "evil entities;"  but he does record one terrifying experience of that nature.)

    It is significant that Bill Sabin's own health broke down in the '30's,

    Dr. Hyatt took H.P.B.'s warning seriously;  Frisen, your author, seems to have missed the seriousness of that point.  As we understand it, your policy is to publish all information of interest on occult subjects that comes to hand.  We hope, therefore, that you will find space for our remarks.

    We doubt that many will be deterred from experimenting on these lines by anything we say.  According to our experience, those who get hipped on occultism of this sort, are so sure they know it all, and so confident of their own wisdom and courage, that they will only learn in the hard way.  However, we feel that we should do what we can.  Madame Blavatsky wrote extensively on these matters;  but always to inform and warn;  never to encourage personal experiments.

Yours very truly, Editors Theosophical Notes

    For the benefit of Theosophists:  granted the authenticity of the Hyatt incident, it would seem that Hyatt and the erring Society member who hypnotized him were both chelas of a former life who had gone off the track, and H.P.B. was trying to get them back into line.  Sabin seems to have profited little by his own opportunities to learn the truth.  But the problem does not end there.  Hyatt was trying to serve the "legitimate" though selfish financial interests of a friend.  How far can that sort of thing go? We have long had with us the criminal hypnotist - disputes as to his existence notwithstanding. How about the criminal astral spy, looking into the combination of a bank vault or something similar?  Few interests have the protective resources of the Vatican - a certain astral traveler, trying to examine some of its secret library stacks, was met with what she reported as an impenetrable "wall of fire." Romance, perhaps;  and then again, there might be more in it than that.

    The psychic cycle is rising with accumulating speed;  interesting times are ahead, and during even very recent years, sundry hard-headed, skeptical Theosophists to whom all this had been purely theoretical, have had some bad jolts.