The Ultimate Paranormalist
December 18, 2007 3:29 PM   Subscribe

Henry Steel Olcott is best known as one of the founders of the Theosophical Society, along with Helena Blavatsky. He died 100 years ago.

He began his life as an agricultural expert, and authored Sorghum and Imphee, the Chinese and African Sugar Canes in 1857, considered an important textbook at the time and demonstrative of his technical and research prowess. In 1865, after serving in the Northern Army during the Civil War and serving for four years as a Special Commissioner for the War Department (where he achieved the rank of Colonel and led an investigation into corruption and fraud at the New York Mustering and Discharging Office), he was selected to serve as a special agent in the investigation of the assassination of Lincoln. His life took a turn in for the strange when he spent ten weeks in Chittenden, Vermont in 1874, conducting an intensive investigation into the goings-on at the inn belonging to the infamous Eddy brothers. The result of the visit - which remains one of the most comprehensive paranormal investigations to this day - was People from the Other World, one of the most complete and compelling studies ever produced about a paranormal case. As an added bonus, Olcott was one of the very first European descendants to formally convert to Buddhism, and ended up as an important figure in the Buddhist faith.
posted by dbiedny (6 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The Theosophical Society was the group that groomed Krishnamurti for his role as the "world leader". Krishamurti then went on to "denounce all organized belief, the notion of 'gurus', and the whole teacher-follower relationship", undercutting much of the focus of the Theosophical Society.
posted by Argyle at 4:14 PM on December 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

And then there was Rudolph Steiner who became General Secretary of the German/Austrian division of the Theosophical Society in 1902.

I often drive by The Great Barrington (MA) Rudolf Steiner School which is one of over 1,000 Waldorf schools, "a worldwide movement of independent schools founded in 1919 by Rudolf Steiner" based on Theosophy*.
posted by ericb at 4:18 PM on December 18, 2007

posted by First Post at 6:24 PM on December 18, 2007

Ah, Theosophy. Because only I can tell you what the Secret Masters say.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:43 PM on December 18, 2007

Ah, I was going to mention the Eddy brothers when I opened the thread but I see somebody beat me too it. I enjoyed the interview with Citro. Would that count as synchronicity that I just finished listening to it a few hours ago? Love the show. Keep up the good work.
posted by well_balanced at 9:23 PM on December 18, 2007

I see that they have ceased publication of Sunrise after this issue (56 years). Good run.
posted by tellurian at 9:43 PM on December 18, 2007

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