Who Really Was Madame Blavatsky?

 

 

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-1891) was a Russian occultist, spirit medium, author and co-founder of the Theosophical Society in 1875. Commonly known as Madame Blavatsky, she has also been called the "godmother of the New Age Movement" and “the Founding Mother of the Occult in America” as one writer wrote in a 1970 McCall’s magazine article. Undoubtedly, Helena Blavatsky was highly influential in helping to turn Europeans and Americans towards Eastern religions and philosophies. She was an enigma to many who knew her, adding to her status as a great occultist. To her devout followers she was also seen as a great being who explored new paths into the development of humanity and who reached the highest levels of wisdom and illumination. To many of her contemporaries she was believed to be a charlatan and plagiarist, as well as a heretic because she advocated the eradication of all religious creeds. Yet who was she really?

Born in Russia to an aristocratic family Helena traveled widely around the Russian Empire as a child. Biographers present a picture of Helena as a strong-willed and independent child who was a good story teller with quite an imagination. She also had a belief that she had invisible friends. If one believed her relatives or Helena's stories, she had abnormal experiences in her youth as well, such as the ability to move objects without touching them. Her mother died when she was eleven years old. Helena would say that her mother had died when she was a baby which was a deliberate lie. Receiving a viable history from Helena would prove useless to anyone who tried to gleam the truth of her past, as she deliberately fabricated many tales about where she traveled, who she met, occult titles she earned, and what she saw in the invisible world.

We know these stories are in part fabrications as interviews with reporters and their articles, biographies, and her own personal letters to friends and relatives, often told different tales and sometimes were in conflict with each other. It may be that Helena wanted things that way. She wrote to her first biographer, A.P. Sinnett (he is known for the Mahatma Letters delivered to him and his wife from Theosophy's Masters),  “From seventeen to forty I took care during my travels to sweep away all traces of myself wherever I went . . . I never allowed people to know where I was or what I was doing.” It seemed no one in her family could provide a consistent story of Helena either.

Even Colonel Olcott's book, People From the Other World, written while they were together in New York in 1874, Mme. Blavatsky said he got her facts wrong writing to her family in Russia, “Olcott’s book is producing an enormous furore. . . . In this book he has made many changes from his letters, by additions and omissions; but still he has mixed up my biography with the Lord knows what, princes, boyards, and imaginary govemors-general—whatever they choose to tell him at the consulate. It seems that Olcott had to contact the Russian Consulate to get his materials for his book and believe whatever they told him while he was in close contact with her and witnessed all her wonders and phenomenon.

The problem arises that twenty-five years of Helena's actual history before creating Theosophy is unable to be proven. Did she actually spend three years in Tibet studying under her master "adepts" and preparing for her most important mission that was to begin in New York with the founding of Theosophy? What happened in the those years of Blavatsky's life has proved difficult for biographers. Very few of her own writings survived prior to 1873. While Blavatsky spoke about herself and her life frequently, and at great length, as her biographer Peter Washington pointed out, she “rarely said exactly the same thing twice.”

In the Ascended Master movements H.P. Blavatsky was accepted as a legitimate teacher and messenger of higher knowledge. Many of the Ascended Master concepts can be traced back to ideas she presented in her two famous books, Isis Unveiled (two volumes) and The Secret Doctrine (also two volumes.)

As a member of the Summit Lighthouse for almost twenty-five years there was no doubt that H.P. Blavatsky was presented as a sponsored individual of these Ascended Masters. We were taught that Theosophy's "K.H." (Koot Hoomi) and the Master M. (El Morya) founded the Theosophical Society and wrote The Mahatma Letters between 1880 and 1884 to A. P. Sinnett.

The Messengers of the Summit also released over the years certain ideas about H.P. Blavatsky that are not easily found in print. One of the ideas was that H.P. Blavatsky was an incarnation of Henry the II and Henry the VIII, both who were indirectly and directly responsible for the murder of two embodiments of El Morya (Thomas Beckett and Thomas More.) H.P. Blavatsky was believed to be sponsored by El Morya to help usher in the New Age with her spiritualism, séances and occult interests and to help her pay back her karmic debt to El Morya.

The Summit taught several ideas that were presented as esoteric truths from H.P. Blavatsky's books. We learned about root races (although different from H.P. Blavatsky's root races), the use of a ceremonial sword to cut you free from malevolent spirits, and what El Morya looked like with a white turban from picture of H.P. Blavatsky's. The Summit also taught that H.P. Blavatsky could penetrate accurately the realm of akasha, although Blavatsky's definition of akasha is not the same as the Summit's. Edgar Cayce introduced the idea of akashic records as a central storehouse of all information for every individual who has ever lived upon the earth. The Secret Doctrine defines akasha as the universal soul and the cause of existence filling all infinite Space. 

Thus, many spiritual movements have Theosophy as part of their roots. As a member of the Summit Lighthouse, we believed that Helena knew the master Saint German, El Morya and Kuthumi, and that the picture of her seated with those masters standing beside her was a legitimate photo (on the right). One Theosophy student's website states, "No genuine Theosophist or student of H.P. Blavatsky is likely to give credence to the photo."

One of the reasons is that Theosophist C.W. Leadbeater is credited for creating the link between the far right figure and Saint Germain. He called this being "Master R" for "Rakoczy" and linked him to a previous embodiment of Saint Germain. The Ascended Master movements link "Master R" with the being called the Great Divine Director. The "R" still stands for the house of Rakoczy. H.P. Blavatsky never spoke of a "Saint Germain" and he was not a part of her "master" adepts she supposedly communicated with.

The picture is also proposed to be a photograph of a painting created sometime between the 1930s and 1950s as it appeared in this photo. The middle figure is El Morya who is a tall master and believed by Theosophists to be at least six and a half feet. With the proportions in the drawing, it would make Blavatsky as tall as the men if she were standing.

As a student of the Summit Lighthouse, I read one of the many biographies on H.P. Blavatsky before internet browsers had fully developed and greater access to knowledge could be had. That book painted a picture of a talented and highly psychic and intuitive person and I came away with a good impression of her. It is easy to see that those who highly favored her wrote with their own bias and chose the facts that would glorify her the most, and those who claim she was a fraud likewise wrote choosing to present facts based on their own bias. So where can you find an unbiased biography on this mysterious Blavatsky? I have yet to find one, although I have read dozens of articles, books, and biographies.

I am not unbiased. After reading many biographies and articles on Madame Blavatsky I have formed my own conclusion. So I will present some of the questionable parts of her past with some information generally unknown about her because many of her biographer's leave these facts out. While including some of her foreign travels as true when there is no actual proof and leaving out her marriages, affair and a son, and other important details, they can easily attempt to glorify her into some kind of demigod.

For those who desire to learn more about who Helena really was, I have added some books and links on the reference page that are not generally known. Most of the information I include in this article comes from the books, A Modern Priestess of Isis by Vsevolod Sergyeevich Solovyoff, Priestess of the Occult by Gertrude Marvin Williams, and Ancient Wisdom Revived by Bruce E. Campbell. The information in these books is far more than I can detail herein although I will provide some of the generally unknown details in Helena's life from those books.

H.P. Blavatsky Marriage and Travels
Helena married Nikifor Blavatsky when she was seventeen years old. She often told others that Blavatsky was about sixty or seventy years old. She told that story to her biographer, A.P. Sinnett and he recorded it as fact in his well known 1886 book 
Incidents in the Life of Madame H. P. Blavatsky. The truth was that Blavatsky was 40 years old when he married Helena. Often her biographies state that the reason she married Blavatsky was to spite her governess who stated no man would ever marry her. Another story told by Helena was that it was part of a plan to make possible her freedom to intensely search and study the Occult.

Their time together was very short as Helena soon left Blavatsky and she ended up in Constantinople. Helena stated at one time she stayed in the marriage for three weeks and at another time she stated it was three months. Whether it was three weeks or months, she had no desire to be with Blavatsky and escaped as soon as she could. She also stated she spent a year with him. This was possibly after she returned to Russia after their first separation. Helena also claimed she was a virgin and had no relations with any man and had a doctor's report to prove it. She needed to prove to her father that the son she took care of was not her own. Helena later wrote in her Personal Memoirs her belief on marriage saying, "I wouldn't be a slave to God Himself, let alone man." That might be so, yet she married again and had another relationship that lasted for years.

After Helena abandoned her husband she supposedly traveled throughout Europe, Asia, North and South America, and Egypt over the next twenty-four years. Only some of her time can be accounted for during those years, especially when she stayed with relatives. It appears she most likely traveled throughout Europe and possibly Turkey and Egypt, and financed her travels by writing home to her father for the money, although some dispute her father would have financed these travels.

Some of the claims Helena made about this period of time—and some made about her that she disputed or would not admit—were so outlandish and seemingly impossible to do in one lifetime never mind 25 years. Below are a few of her claims:

  • Smoked hashish with the Universal Mystic Brotherhood in Cairo.
  • Met "Master M" in London, in 1851
  • Performed with the Philharmonic Society in London as a concert pianist.
  • Studied voodoo in New Orleans
  • Around 1854 went to Chicago and across the Rockies to San Francisco, with a caravan of emigrants (possibly in a covered wagon.)
  • Visited the Mormons in Salt Lake City
  • Found a lost Incan treasure in South America
  • Traveled to Tibet at heights of around 14,900 ft.
  • In 1856 witnessed a reincarnation ceremony in Tibet where a four-month-old baby rose to its feet under the venerable lama's influence and walked up and down repeating, "I am Buddha, I am the old Lama, I am his spirit in a new body."
  • Wandered among the native tribes of the Russian Caucasus for a time in the early 1860s.
  • Reconciled with Blavatsky around 1860 and lived with him for about a year. 
  • Had an affair with Italian opera singer Agardi Metrovich
  • Gave birth to a child in about 1861
  • Lived with the whirling Dervishes, with the Bedouin Arabs and the Marabouts of Damascus.
  • Was initiated into the rites, ceremonies, and instructions practiced among the Druzes of Mount Lebanon in Syria
  • In 1865 she was at Petrovsk, in the Daghestan region of the Caucasus, where she witnessed one of the ghastly rituals of a native sect.
  • Studied with native kudyani, or magicians,
  • Engaged in commercial enterprises, such as the floating of lumber and the export of nut-tree-spunk.
  • Encountered a group of spiritual adepts, the "Masters of the Ancient Wisdom", who sent her to Shigatse, Tibet, where they trained her to develop her own psychic powers. 
  • HPB said she met KH in 1868.
  • 1867 to 1871 traveling about the Orient and Europe.
  • Fought in the battle of Mentana in 1868 disguised as a man where the Garibaldians fought for Italy's freedom. Helena was wounded five times and left for dead.
  • Traveled to India and parts of Tibet. Met the master KH in 1868.
  • Lived at different periods in Little Tibet as in Great Tibet, and these combined periods Helena claimed form more than seven years. 
  • Studied in Tibet with a group of “Masters” who would later become central to her Theosophical teachings. Stayed there with the Mahatma KH, who lived with his sister and nephew and where she studied an ancient language called Senzar.
  • Met the Master Hilarion in Greece in 1870.
  • Survived two sea disasters, one in 1871 where she was one of sixteen survivors out of four hundred passengers.
  • Received orders from her "masters" to go to New York in 1873.

It is not hard to imagine that H.P. Blavatsky might confuse some of her travels and dates with so much she supposedly experienced, although she is credited with a very good memory. Some letters, travel papers and statements by H.P. Blavatsky help provide dates and possible places she traveled to. Besides the battle H.P. Blavatsky supposedly participated in, the sea disasters and the dangers of traveling to Tibet across mountains, she almost died several more times during this period with severe illnesses that she suddenly was cured of. 

Helena's interest in the occult remained over the years, and while in Paris in 1858 she met Daniel Dunglas Home, who at that time was the world's most famous and successful medium. She later stated that "Home converted me to Spiritualism.” When she returned to Russia she converted her father to Spiritualism and she said, "I made a great number of other converts.” Home and H.P. Blavatsky would later have differences after Home dedicated an entire chapter in his autobiography of 1877, Lights and Shadows of Spiritualism, to maligning Helena.

In 1860 Helena and her recently widowed sister, Vera, visited their maternal grandmother in Tiflis (present-day Tbilisi.) It was there that Helena met up with a young baron from Estonia, Nicholas Meyendorff, and where she reconciled with her husband Nikifor in 1862, on the condition they see each other as little as possible. Helena began holding séances in her grandfather's home. Meyendorff, who was an ardent Spiritualist, was impressed with the séances, and he possibly could have been quite taken with Helena as well. Meyendorff was a close friend of Daniel D. Home. Then, Agardi Metrovich, an Italian opera singer Helena knew from a decade before came on the scene. She claimed in her letters to A.P. Sinnett that she rescued Metrovich from death by saving him from the gallows in Austria. After protecting him for ten days he left and she again rescued him from assassins when she found him dying in an alley in either Cairo or Constantinople. Another story states she found him in a hotel after he was poisoned. Yet another story she gave was that they were both on the 1871 boat disaster when it exploded and he perished as one of the four hundred passengers who lost their lives that day.

In Campbell's Ancient Wisdom Revived, he states that "there is considerable evidence pointing to a long-term affair with the itinerant opera singer Agardi Metrovich. Several independent sources report Helena was known as Madame Metrovich and that she and Metrovich lived together for several periods over a considerable number of years in Italy, the Middle East, and Russia. There is evidence she had liaisons with other men as well." 

Metrovich was known to have an affair with a German opera singer, Sophie Cruvelli while he was still married, although no wife is known outside of the wife H.P. Blavatsky created in her stories and who she said was a good friend. Where the wife was when he had his affair with H.P. Blavatsky and they traveled together is unclear. In the book Notable American Women, 1607-1950: A Biographical Dictionary, Volume 2, it states that Blavatsky and Metrovich began their affair in 1950 and H.P. Blavatsky accompanied him on his European tours.

When Metrovich appeared Helena was living with her husband and Meyendorff and Metrovich joined them. It was then she would have become pregnant and bore the child Yuri. Whose child it was is anyone's guess. Helena told others it was Metrovich's child by an unknown woman she adopted. Helena also stated that the child was Baron Meyendorff's. The sister-in-law of the Baron claimed that the Meyendorff had an ongoing affair with Blavatsky since she arrived in Russia. It appears that she was having an affair with both men and none of them knew which was the father. Meyendorff thought Metrovich was the likely father and he accepted it and Helena and he left together for Italy.

A cousin of Helena's stated in his Memoirs that her father read aloud a letter in which Metrovich signed himself as "your affectionate grandson." Metrovich considered himself Helena's husband at this point. It is not clear whether Blavatsky and Helena divorced, got an annulment or remained married.

Yuri was a sickly and deformed child and he died at five years of age. Helena loved him very much and after his death, she confided to one her first cousin of her rejection of Christianity stating that she "ceased to believe in the Russian Orthodox God at that point." After burying Yuri in Russia under Metrovich's surname, Metrovich supposedly died on the boat accident in 1871 and Helena went on to Cairo alone. While in Cairo she formed the Societe Spirite for occult phenomena with Emma Cutting (married name Emma Coulomb) holding séances. The Coulombs would later play the part of accusing Blavatsky as a fraud and instigating the Hodgson's report on behalf of the Society for Psychical Research. The Societé closed in 1873 under charges of fraud.

Arrival in New York
It was in 1873 that H.P. Blavatsky emigrated to New York. While her history is easily traced from this point on, fabrications of her past continued as she sought to begin anew. After the formation of the new Theosophical Society, the story emerged that Helena was directed by her Master "M" to immediately sail for New York, which she said she did the next day. Most Theosophists skip over Helena's years from 1873-1875 when the Theosophical Society was created except to mention how she met Colonel Olcott. Yet this period of time is rich in what the new Blavatsky was seeking to become and create in her world.

Campbell devoted twelve pages in his "Ancient Wisdom" book to how the occult and spiritualism background developed in America. He brought in the effects of Swedenborgianism and Mesmerism sweeping through the U.S. in the 1840s and the effects of Phineas Quimby who had a great influence on Mary Baker Eddy and her Christian Science development. One man, Andrew Jackson Davis, was dubbed the "philosopher of spiritualism." He combined Swedenborgianism and Mesmerism and began trance mediumship where he dictated a series of revelations published in 1847. Spiritualism became vogue and soon the Fox family became well known with their "Hydesville Rappings" in upstate New York with two young girls who could communicate with a spirit and answer questions with rapped replies. It was later proven to be a hoax.

Christianity was under attack. The dogmatic views were being challenged by Universalists, Unitarians, Quakers and Christian Scientists. The U.S. had a population then around twenty-five million and it was estimated that around two million were heavily involved in the spiritualist movement. H.P. Blavatsky wrote in a letter in 1874 that it was around eleven million involved in spiritualism, making half the population of America supposedly involved with spiritualism!

The port of New York was receiving Immigrants at the rate of half a million a year in the 1870s. Agencies had to be set up to offer them assistance, much like is happening today at the U.S. southern border with migrants from Central America. A recent USA Today article stated that "Organizers there are used to handling 200 to 300 migrants a day. Lately, the migrants have been arriving at a clip of around 800 a day, overflowing the respite center and straining city resources." Out of 100,000 apprehensions and encounters with migrants in one month (the highest monthly tally in over a decade), around 90 percent of those – or 90,000 – crossed the border between legal ports of entry. All of the government facilities are overcrowded and they are having to be released into shelters en masse.

We can imagine what happened in New York in the 1870s from what we learn from what is happening today at the southern border of the U.S.. H.P. Blavatsky was directed to one of New York’s earliest tenement houses and home for working women. There she stayed with sixty-five other occupants, chiefly unskilled laborers. She had little money and tried different jobs, first working as a dressmaker and then making artificial flowers as well as creating exotic designs for leather work and novelties. There was no doubt she was in poverty over those years, but it would not last because after her father's death in 1873 (some websites mistakenly have propagated his death happening in 1875) she received $500 of her modest inheritance.

Within a few days of H.P. Blavatsky's arrival in New York she managed to get newspaper coverage for herself. Interviewed by the New York Sun from a reporter sent to write a story about Russian women, H.P. Blavatsky reported that "a colony of one hundred and fifty girls from the Russian aristocracy, including the Czar’s own daughters, had been studying medicine in Zurich when the Czar issued a ukase forbidding Russian women to study medicine and limiting them to the practice of midwifery. The Russian Consul in Switzerland immediately broke up the Zurich group." Quite a tale but accomplishing its purpose in her last statement, " “These accomplished women, polyglots, artists, travelers, scientists, nearly moneyless are able to do much and want something to do.”

H.P. Blavatsky surrounded herself with mystery, made acquaintance with more editors and their papers, and told interesting stories about her varied travels and impressed people with her evident psychic abilities. A neighbor of H.P. Blavatsky during this time described Madame as an unusual and powerful-looking woman. She was very heavy set, with a broad face and shoulders and lightish brown hair “crinkled like a negro’s. She described that around her neck "she wore a freakish tobacco pouch, the mounted head of an animal in which she fumbled for tobacco to roll her perpetual cigarettes."

By this time H.P. Blavatsky was a chain smoker, smoking a pound a day of Turkish tobacco, a habit she began in Cairo and continued for the rest of her life. An old friend that she traveled with around Egypt around 1850, Albert Leighton Rawson, got to know her well. While in Egypt she used opium and hashish, a drug that simulates the hypnotic state. When they met again in New York City, twenty-five years after their travels through Egypt, he said she still depended on the drug. She told him that “hasheesh multiplies one’s life a thousandfold,” and that her experiences under its influence were as real as actual life. “It is a wonderful drug and it clears up profound mysteries.”

Many have remarked on her swear words, as well as her smoking habit and her lack of emotional control. Rawson also related scenes he witnessed in New York around Helena. He described that she was "the brilliant fascinating hostess one minute, scorching the ears of the company the next. On the most trivial pretext she would fly into a “divine passion,” working herself into a frenzy, cursing and screaming at Olcott until she was making only “insane yawps.”

In 1874 H.P. made a bad investment with part of her inheritance from her father's estate. She met the Jerebkos who were from Russia and they enticed her to join their investment in a Long Island farm they had just bought for $1,000. Blavatsky was convinced that she could earn income from it and paid the Jerebkos $1,000 and signed a three-year co-partnership agreement to work the farm on equal shares. Alas, farm life was not the same in America from her experience in Russia and after a month they both realized their mistake and tried to be released from the contract. Jerebkos promised to give Blavatsky's money back but they soon disappeared and H.P. Blavatsky lost her investment.

Séances, the Eddy Brothers and John King
Colonel Henry Steel Olcott, a lawyer and journalist, was practicing law in New York in 1874 when he was sent on an assignment to write about the Eddy brothers and their séances occurring in Vermont. After a five day visit, he put aside his practice and spent ten more weeks returning to the Chittenden farm to do a thorough investigation. He came away convinced of the genuineness of the brothers and their phenomena. After Colonel Olcott’s articles were published on at the end of 1874, H.P. Blavatsky found her way to Vermont to meet this man Olcott and she stayed two weeks at the farm and made friends with Olcott.

H.P. Blavatsky became part of the séances where various relatives, acquaintances, and friends visited her in spirit form. One gave her a buckle of a medal of honor worn in life by her father and supposedly buried with his body in Russia. This incident would later cause a anomosity towards D. D. Homes and his published book which included negative comments about Olcott, herself and the supposed manifestation of the medal. While Olcott and Blavatsky defended the Eddy brothers as legitimate spiritualists, a Dr. Beard wrote debunking them. Blavatsky wrote a defense of the Eddys refuting Dr.Beard's conclusion. The truth could be both were right as later the Eddys were exposed afte some of their tricks were discovered. Yet, there still remained many unanswered questions as to the many manifestations of spirits that would be too many for them to disguise. Some of their tricks were supposedly only filling in for the quieter times when the spirits were not many.

Later at New York, Blavatsky had another ‘invisible’ friend whose identity she had borrowed from mainstream Spiritualism: a spirit named John King. John King was a well-known spirit guide channeled in séances across the Spiritualist circles of the Western world.  He claimed to be the spirit of Henry Morgan, a Caribbean pirate who became governor of Jamaica in 1673.  HPB claimed to be in communication with John King in her early years in New York, and this presumably helped give her credibility with Spiritualists.  She told one Spiritualist that she had been in daily communication with John King for fourteen years, and wrote to another that he had twice saved her life linking him up to her invisible guardian from her youth who she claimed always protected her.

Blavatsky later claimed that she was the first person to communicate with John King. The John King self-portrait (on the right) was sent to General Lippitt in 1875. Blavatsky did part of the painting and the rest was supposedly manifested by King himself.

Contradicting earlier words, H.P. Blavatsky, in defending herself from an article written by Arthur Lillie entitled "Koot Hoomi Unveiled", retaliated writing, "I here assert that I had never heard the name of "John King" before 1873. True it is, I have told Colonel Olcott and many others that the form of a man, with a dark pale face, black beard, and white flowing garments and fettah, that some of them had met about the house and my rooms, was that of a "John King". I had given him that name for reasons that will be fully explained very soon, and I laughed heartily at the easy way the astral body of a living man could be mistaken for, and accepted as, a spirit. And I had told them that I had known that "John King" since 1860; for it was the form of an Eastern adept, who has since gone for his final initiation, passing through and visiting us in his living body on his way, at Bombay. (...) I have known and conversed with many a "John King" in my life – a generic name for more than one spook – but thank heaven, I was never yet "controlled" by one! My mediumship has been crushed out of me a quarter of a century or more, and I defy loudly all the "spirits" of the Kama-loka to approach – let alone to control me now."

Solovyoff, in his Modern Priestess of Isis, deduced that H.P. Blavatsky's "King" was really her Master "M" or "Morya". He wrote, "In April 1875, Madame Blavatsky wrote to Aksakov, a Russian researcher of psychic phenomena that: 'John [King] and I are acquainted from old times, long before he began to materialise in London and take walks in the medium’s house with a lamp in his hand.'"

At another time Blavatsky wrote "Moreover the spirit John King is very fond of me, and I am fonder of him than of anything on earth. He is my only friend, and if I am indebted to any one for the radical change in my ideas of life, my efforts and so on, it is to him alone. He has transformed me, and I shall be indebted to him, when I go to the 'upper story' for not having to dwell for centuries it may be in darkness and gloom. John and I are acquainted from old times, long before he began to materialise in London and take walks in the medium's house with a lamp in his hand.

Here are the first traces of the gradual transformation of John King into Mahatma Morya. The “master” is not invented yet, but soon will be morphed into Blavatsky’s "masters" in the course of a couple of years when in India.

In Caves and Jungles of Hindustan, H.P. Blavatsky portrays an adept called "Gulab-Singh" as the chief sponsor and companion of the early Theosophists in their Indian travels. He was a Rajput ruler (Maurya) and in a letter to Prince Dondukov-Korsakov, Blavatsky identifies Gulab-Singh as Morya. Another Theosophist's deduction is that John King was H.P. Blavatsky's "Hilarion" or "Illarion" as she spelled his name. The portrait above looks similar to the El Morya portrait from Theosophy (pictured on right).

K. Paul Johnson wrote in his The Masters Revealed his theory on all H.P. Blavatsky's "Masters." I have not read his book but a review of his book with Johnson's conclusions. They state that Johnson maintains that H.P. Blavatsky gathered material for her books not only by reading the works of the leading occult figures of her time but also by knowing them personally. Her "Masters," he says, were actual people; she made up astral personalities for them to conceal their real identities. He identifies a network of learned acquaintances that Madame Blavatsky cultivated in Europe and Asia from the 185's to the 1870s.

Blavatsky's "Masters" supposedly wrote not only to Olcott and Blavatsky but also to the British community leaders in India. These letters were widely published in the press. Blavatsky denied writing them but Johnson claims who else could have written them so convincingly. They helped to spread the influence of the Theosophical Society and to disseminate ideas that would make the West sympathetic toward the religions, cultures and political aspirations of India. No wonder in the Hodgson's report he claimed that H.P. Blavatsky was a Russian spy. Few today believe she was but the fact is that she did write offering her services to the Russian Government as a secret agent.

Solovyoff wrote in his book that after the Coulomb affair and the release of the Hodgson's report she hoped to enlist him to help her saying, "I wish to propose myself as a secret agent of the Russian Government in India. To promote the triumph of my country over those vile English I am capable of anything. I hate the English Government in India, with its missionaries; they are all my personal enemies, thirsting for my destruction. That alone is reason enough why I should throw my whole soul into the struggle with them. And that I can do them immense harm in India is certain; and I alone can do it, no one else is capable of the task."

In part II on H.P. Blavatsky the story will continue with her marriage in New York, the creation of the Theosophical Society and the move to India, the split of the Society, the Hodgson's report, Blavatsky's books and more.