Henry S. Olcott's Account of Meeting Ooton Liatto

[an excerpt from Comunications: Colonel Olcott Meets the Brothers: An Unpublished Letter,
Theosophical History, (Fullerton, CA) January 1994, pp 6-9.]

"Wonder treads upon wonder. I wrote an account of my [first] interview with the Brother I took for a Hindoo Brahmin, and was sorry enough afterwards I had said a word about it, either in letter or lecture. [Then] I began to doubt my own senses and fancy the scene had all been an objective hallucination but I have seen him again yesterday and another man was with him.

"Other persons have seen this man in New York. He is not a Brahmin, but a swarthy Cypriote. I did not ask him before of what country he was.

"I was reading in my room yesterday (Sunday) when there came a tap at the door. I said 'come in' and then entered the Brother with another dark skinned gentleman of about fifty with a bushy gray beard and eye brows.

"We took cigars and chatted for a while.

"He said he would show me the production of flowers as the adepts do it. At the same time pointing to the air, fancy --- the shadowy outlines of flower after flower and leaf after leaf grew out of nothing. The room was perfectly light; in fact the sun was shining in. The flowers grew solid. A beautiful perfume saturated the air. They were suspended as the down of a thistle in the air; each separate from the other. Then they formed themselves into bouquets and a splendid large one of roses, lilies of the valley, camelias, jessamine and carnations floated down and placed itself in my hand. Then the others separated again and fell in a shower to the floor. I was stupefied with the manifestation.

"[Then] as he spoke [again] rain drops began pattering around us in the room and positively a drenching shower was falling about us. The carpet was soaked and so were my clothes, the books on the table, and the bronzes, and clock, and photos on the mantel piece. But neither of the Brothers received a drop.

"They sat there and quietly smoked their cigars, while mine became too wet to burn. I just sat and looked at them in a sort of stupid daze. They seemed to enjoy my surprise but smoked on and said nothing. Finally the younger of the two (who gave me his name as Ooton Liatto) said I need not worry. Nothing would be damaged. The shower ceased as suddenly as it had begun. Then the elder man took out of his pocket a painted lacquered case. Upon opening the case a round flat concave crystal was displayed to view. He told me to look in it.

"Holding it a few inches from my eye and shading my eye from the light so that there might be no reflected rays cast upon the glass, the box exhaled a strong spicy aromatic odor much like sandal wood but still not just that. Whatever I wished to see, he said I need simply think of, only taking care to think of but one thing at a time. I did as directed.

"I thought of my dead mother as she used to sit with me twenty years ago. I saw as it were a door in the far distance. It came nearer and nearer, and grew plainer until I lost consciousness of external objects and seemed to be in the very room I had in mind. Details long forgotten, pictures, furniture, came into view. My mother sat there, and the conversation of twenty years ago was renewed. I thought of a landscape --- lo! I stood upon the spot and mountain, valley, river, and buildings lay smiling before me. I was there --- not in my room in 34th Street.

"So for more than an hour, the thing went on. I seemed able to flit from one clime to another with the speed of thought, and to call up any spirit I wished to talk with. Things too that had occurred to me when out of the body (all recollection of which had been obliterated upon the return of my spirit to flesh) were shown me. But these were only a few and unimportant, for when I seemed to be growing inquisitive, some power prevented my seeing anything.

"Was I hallucinated? No sir, I was not. At least I can't imagine a person being hallucinated and still be in such a state of mental activity as I was in. I have never been psychologized. I am like cast iron so far as sensitiveness to mesmeric influence while I used to be a strong mesmeriser myself.

"The seance being over as I supposed, I asked Liatto if he knew Madam B. He stared too. But as I thought he ought to know her, since her flat was in the same house, I went on to discant [comment] upon her character, her virtues, her intellectuality. The elder Brother asked me to present their compliments to Madam and say that with her permission they would call upon her.

"I ran down stairs, rushed into Madam's parlour and there sat these two identical men smoking with her and chatting as quietly as if they had been old friends. Madam motioned to me as if I had better not come in, as if they had private business to talk over. I stood transfixed looking from one to another in dumb amazement. I glanced [at] the ceiling (my rooms are over Madame B's) but they had not tumbled through.

"Madam said, 'What the Devil are you staring at Olcott? What's the matter? You must be crazy.' I said nothing but rushed up stairs again, tore open my door and the men were not there. I ran down again; they had disappeared. I heard the front door close, looked out of the window and saw them just turning the corner. Madam said they had been with her for more than an hour. And that is all she would tell me about them.

"When I showed her my wet clothes and the bouquet of flowers that remained in evidence that I had not been hallucinated, she only said, 'That's nothing remarkable. Ask me no questions for I shall tell you nothing. Let the Brothers do what they please for you, I shan't have my name put out again as a medium.'

"In a half hour from the time the two men left, there was not a drop of moisture in the room nor a shade of dampness to indicate that there had been a shower. But my clothes stayed wet and had to be dried before the fire."

The above extracts have been transcribed from the original source but material not relevant to the subject has been silently deleted. Explanatory words added by me are enclosed within brackets.


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