From The Blavatsky Foundation


To Reviewers, Buyers and Readers of:


MADAME BLAVATSKY The Woman Behind the Myth

            By Marion Meade, M.A. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons; 1980)

ANCIENT WISDOM REVIVED A History of the Theosophical Movement

            By Bruce F. Campbell, Ph.D. (University of California Press; 1980)




            The career of Mme Blavatsky (“H.P.B.”) is notable for controversy, claims and counter-claims falling into four chief categories: (1) the pro, and (2) the con, concerning her writings; (3) the pro, and (4) the con, concerning her reputed paranormal phenomena. Critical analysis of the content of these two books exposes significant plagiarism, together with systematic suppression and gross misrepresentation of historical facts, accompanied by a measure of inexcusable fabrication of spurious “evidence.” As concentrated within the indicated four most-important areas of basic controversy, these findings—fully documented—are:

(1)    While not having read any one of the published books which represents H.P.B.’s principal claim to fame, both Meade and Campbell, nevertheless, profess to expertly evaluate the content, nature and worth of these writings, especially The Secret Doctrine. But their summaries of this, H.P.B.’s  magnum opus, are plagiarized—largely word-for-word, without quotation marks or proper credit (Meade: 136 passages of from 2 to 13 words seriatim; Campbell: 97 passages of 2 to 25 words seriatim)—from a conspectus of the same work published in 1930 under the editorship of the Department of Philosophy of Columbia University.

(2)    Neither are their criticisms of these writings the result of original reading and analysis by Meade or Campbell, who both borrow heavily and selectively from an 1893 critique by W.E. Coleman, while suppressing all of Coleman’s serious and indefensible self-contradictions, admissions, lacunae and unfulfilled promises of “proofs” (for his uncorroborated allegations of “plagiarism” by H.P.B.) thus omitting whatever they find discrediting his boastful, post-Blavatsky charges. Additionally, to bolster this weak fund of “con” evidence, Meade plagiarizes from another attack, published at London in 1936, misappropriating without credit or quotation marks, many passages verbatim (38 passages of 2 to 16 words seriatim), which she proceeds to palm off as her own creation in language and ideas—while giving no hint of the unchallenged rebuttals issued at the time in answer to these self-same criticisms.

(3)    Of the 10 major studies published since 1884 (8 during the last 53 years) defending the paranormal reality of Mme Blavatsky’s phenomena—studies for the most part unchallenged, and several untouched at all by critics of H.P.B.—, Campbell quotes not a single word, and Meade only gives (or, rather, plagiarizes without quotation marks or any notice of source), as if her own, language and ideas appropriated from but one page of one study (p. 134, Journal, A.S.P.R., July 1962)!

(4)    To enhance the spurious facade of scholarship attached to their books, both Meade and Campbell refer familiarly to the content of the 5 primary sources (printed in 1884, 1885 and 1893) in which are historically rooted the counter-claims that Mme Blavatsky’s phenomena were fraudulent and faked. These 5 basic works comprise 524 printed pages—of which, for Campbell, 100-percent and for Meade, 98-percent are terra incognito, fundamental historical data unread or unseen! All of the quotations given and attributed by Campbell to any of these 5 primary sources—and at least 64 of the 74 quotations in the Meade book and similarly attributed—have been traced to later, more accessible books from which these quotations were copied at second-hand and without credit to these unacknowledged secondary sources. (And yet both Campbell and Meade heartily endorse W.E. Coleman’s definition of this literary practice as one of PLAGIARISM.) Proof of this surreptitious copying from secondary sources is evident in the slavish reproduction by Campbell and Meade of multiple errors present in secondary source-quotes but absent from the originals (a form of essential evidence not adduced against H.P.B.’s Isis Unveiled).

While contemptuously dismissing 95 years of pro-Blavatsky defence as impotent to overturn the “basic findings” of the so-called Hodgson Report of 1885—which he sagely pontificates is “essential reading”—and without in any way attempting to substantiate this derogatory falsehood, Dr. Campbell presents as his own analysis of the 1884-85 missionary-Coulomb-Hodgson-S.P.R. Committee attacks, what is, in fact, little more than a patchwork of close paraphrasing and selected passages (36 passages of 2 to 22 words seriatim) plagiarized verbatim, and without recognition or quotation marks, from a long-outdated and originally defective critique published 66 years ago by an Anglo-Indian missionary apologist!

            Finally, to strengthen the negative position embraced by both against the phenomenal powers claimed for Mme Blavatsky, Meade and Campbell contrive to remedy deficiencies in the anti-H.P.B. case which have come to their notice, by impudently foisting on their readers patently false and heretofore unheard-of “evidences” of her “quilt”! In place of the facts-on-record and the historical documentation a buyer-reader is led by boastful publishing claims to expect upon paying $32.90 for their combined total of 787 pages, one receives only such as this and the pitiful, preposterous results of these authors’ sham research. In Meade’s book at least, this literary legerdemain of “switch” swindle, culminates in the reader receiving, as substitute for the missing evidence, only what its author repeatedly exalts as “my opinion”—the opinions in both books, on a variety of important controversies surrounding Mme Blavatsky, being of such sheer worthlessness, given in total disregard of all available facts, as are not likely to be soon excelled in pseudo-biographical buffoonery.



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