We thought the era of purportedly esoteric groups trashing the reputations of the leaders of other groups had passed, but a new blog shows that tradition is still alive and well. The blog, History of the Adepts, though “sponsored by the Church of Light” is really the mouthpiece of K. Paul Johnson. Paul Johnson has been struggling for relevancy in the theosophical world for some time, and having gone through a number of groups has now found a home at the Church of Light. While giving a lot of material that may bias the reader against Blavatsky’s claims [at the link above] he does not cite any exculpatory evidence on her behalf. Using Marion Meade as his authority (!), he quotes her saying that during a visit by C.C. Massey to Blavatsky and Olcott while in England in 1879,“as Massey was preparing to depart, she told him to reach into his overcoat pocket. To his amazed delight, he withdrew an inlaid Indian card case.” What he doesn’t tell is that Massey had suggested the item, “and this I can state positively—that no one but myself left the room after I had asked for the card-case.” (Massey, Light, August 30, 1884, p. 360.)
Johnson is also wrong when he states that the artist John “Varley and his wife Isabella (aunt of William Butler Yeats) were members of Blavatsky’s Inner Group.” For years Johnson has been defending his theory that Blavatsky’s Masters were a mask for Indian insurrectionists. This drew a strong rebuttal from Daniel Caldwell—K. Paul Johnson's House of Cards? The writer Beatrice Hastings was also incredulous about the claim that Blavatsky was sending letters encouraging deception while in India. Speaking of the correspondence attributed to her by the Coulombs, Hastings writes: It must be admitted that by producing these letters, if genuine, Madame and Monsieur Coulomb conclusively prove that both Mr. Hogg [Post-Master General of India], and Major Henderson, Chief of Police, with the whole Indian C.I.D at his orders, were criminally below their appointments. Here was a highly suspected Russian woman sending conspiratorial letters galore, and this during the years when we were fearing a Russian invasion of Afghanistan. And nobody “pinched” her! (The “Coulomb Pamphlet”, p. 69.)
Perhaps there is also an element of professional jealousy. Blavatsky was a great critic of T.H. Burgoyne, the alias of Thomas Henry Dalton (1855?-1895?), who was jailed in Leeds, England, and fled to America, and who figures in the transmission of the Church of Light. The sordid story is told in Godwin, Chanel, and Deveney’s The Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor, pp. 33-39 (Dalton’s mug shot and police record is given on p. 351). Attempts like Johnson’s ultimately fail to satisfy for they do not answer the question that even Richard Hodgson had to acknowledge in his Report: “what has induced Madame Blavatsky to live so many laborious days in such a fantastic work of imposture?” (Hodgson, Report, p. 313.) Whatever it was, it wasn’t financial extortion.