Laura Holloway-Langford

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Laura Carter Holloway-Langford was an American journalist and clairvoyant who became a chela of the Mahatmas.

Early life

Laura Carter was born in Nashville in 1843 to farmer Sam Carter and his wife Ann, who had fourteen children. Laura was educated at the Nashville Female Academy. She married Junius Brutus Holloway, Lieutenant in the Union Army, in 1862. They had one child, Charles, in 1864. However, the marriage quickly fell apart, and ended in divorce. Laura moved to New York.[1]

Writing career

Laura Holloway.jpg

In New York, Mrs. Holloway took up writing to support herself. By 1870 she had published a bestselling anthology called Ladies of the White House; or, In the Home of the Presidents. It sold nearly 150,000 copies worldwide, and gave Laura a degree of financial independence. That same year, she advanced in her journalistic career at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, being promoted from reporter to associate editor.She held that position for twelve years.

Mrs. Holloway was also a social activist and lecturer:

She gave readings of literature and poetry and lectured on such topics as coeducation and women journalists. Her most famous lecture, “The Perils of the Hour” (1870), concerned “the obstacles that check the advancement of woman.” A suffragist who knew Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Anna Dickinson, Laura nonetheless criticized “strong-minded women” and their masculine habits. She supported temperance, urging the New York City Board of Education to adopt anti-alcohol textbooks.[2]

In July 1884, probably while at the house of Francesca Arundale, she writes Man: Fragments of a Forgotten History with Mohini Chatterji, using the pseudonym "Two Chelâs".[3] The work is published in 1885 by Reeves and Turner.

Other books that she wrote included:

  • An Hour with Charlotte Bronte, 1883
  • The Hearthstone, or Life at Home, a Household Manual, 1883
  • The Woman’s Story, 1888
  • The Story of a Piano, 1900
  • Atma Fairy Stories, 1903, a children's book inspired by Theosophy

Trip to Europe

In the 1870s, Mrs. Holloway became aware of Theosophy. She read A. P. Sinnett's books Esoteric Buddhism and The Occult World.

In 1884, she traveled to Europe to meet Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (in Paris), and other Theosophists, including Francesca Arundale, young George S. Arundale, Mohini Chatterji, A. P. Sinnett, and others. She stayed about six months with Society members. At first she was a guest of Miss Francesca Arundale, and in June went to stay with the Sinnetts.


Mr. Sinnett, knowing that she was a pupil of Master K.H., was very excited about the possibility of having a communication with him through Mrs. Holloway, independently of Mme. Blavatsky. The young and inexperienced probationary chela began to "channel" the Master for the Sinnetts. Alfred wrote:

On the evening of the 6th July we had an interview with the Master K.H. through Mrs. Holloway. On this occasion he actually took possession of her and spoke to us in the first person. Previously she had merely a consciousness and repeated whatever he said.[4]

Mme. Blavatsky disapproved this behaviour, but Mr. Sinnett assumed it was due to jealousy. She insisted that Mrs. Holloway should leave the Sinnetts and go back with the Arundales, which she eventually did. On July 18, 1884, the Master sent a letter to Mr. Sinnett saying that he had not communicated with anybody thorugh Mrs. H.:

I have never bound you to anything thro' Mrs. H.; never communicated with you or any one else thro' her — nor have any of my, or M.'s chelas, to my knowledge, except in America, once at Paris and another time at Mrs. A.'s house. She is an excellent but quite undeveloped clairvoyante. Had she not been imprudently meddled with, and had you followed the old woman's and Mohini's advice indeed, by this time I might have spoken with you thro' her — and such was our intention.[5]

Mr. Sinnett "distrusted the bona fides of the letter at the time and soon became quite convinced that it was a fabrication by the O.L."[6]

In August 1884, Mrs. Holloway received a letter from Master K.H. saying:

You draw to yourself the nearest and strongest influences — often evil — and absorb them, and are psychically stifled or narcotised by them. The airs become peopled with resuscitated phantoms.

They give you false tokens, misleading revelations, deceptive images. Your vivid creative fancy evokes illusive Gurus and chelas, and puts into their mouths words coined the instant before in the mint of your mind, unknown to yourself.[7]

On August 16, 1884, Mrs. Holloway, along with Mme. Blavatsky, Mohini, Bertram Keightley, Mrs. Arundale, Miss F. Arundale and George Arundale, leave London for Elberfeld, Germany, and stay at the mansion of Consul Gustav Gebhard and Mary Gebhard.

Seeing the Master

In July 1884 Laura Holloway was in the studio of the German artist Hermann Schmiechen, then living in London, where a group of Theosophists including Mme. Blavatsky, Patience Sinnett, Mohini Chatterji, and others, had gathered to witness the attempt of the young artist at painting a portrait of the Master K.H. Writing in Third Person, Laura stated that after the artist started she...

... saw the figure of a man outline itself beside the easel and, while the artist with head bent over his work continued his outlining, it stood by him without a sign or motion. She leaned over to her friend and whispered, "It is the Master KH; he is being sketched. He is standing near Mr. Schmiechen."

"Describe his looks and dress," called out HPB. And while those in the room were wondering over Madame Blavatsky's exclamation, the woman addressed said: "He is about Mohini's height; slight of build, wonderful face full of light and animation; flowing curly black hair, over which is worn a soft cap. He is a symphony in greys and blues. His dress is that of a Hindu—though it is far finer and richer than any I have ever seen before—and there is fur trimming about his costume. It is his picture that is being made."[8]

In October 1884 she was going back to New York, and had a meeting with the Masters on board of the ship:

Going on board the steamer in the afternoon I retired at once to my stateroom and, later on, while reading quietly the room was filled with a blazing light that came like a flood upon me.

Two Masters stood in the midst of this light and conversed with me. It was the most transcendent Vision I had ever seen, or shall hope to see again, and while these enlightened Beings were with me they instructed me regarding my future

One of the glorious Beings I saw on that never-to-be-forgotten evening at sea, was H.P.B., and then and there my vision was strengthened, and I was carefully instructed regarding my one gift --- the power to pass easily from the physical to the astral plane, and the tasks I was to perform on that plane, while living in the body and doing my duty according to my ability.[9]

Testimony to the S.P.R.

Later years

When she returned to Brooklyn, she remained a Theosophist, writing articles for The Word, but never became active in the Theosophical Society. Concurrently with her interest in Theosophy, Mrs. Holloway had been attracted to the lifestyle and beliefs of the Shaker community. She moved to a farm in Canaan, New York, and lived there for several decades until her death in 1930. Her body was cremated.[10]

Additional resources

Caldwell, Daniel H. Mrs. Holloway and the Mahatmas: including Articles by Laura C. Holloway and Letters from H.P. Blavatsky, the Mahatma K.H. and the Mahatma M.


  1. Claudia J. Keenan, Laura Carter Holloway Langford (1843-1930), The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture.[1]
  2. Claudia J. Keenan, Laura Carter Holloway Langford (1843-1930), The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture.[2]
  3. Two Chelas, Man: Fragments of a Forgotten History, 1887. The complete text is available at [3]
  4. Alfred Percy Sinnett, "The Early Days of Theosophy in Europe", (London:Theosophical Publishing House Ltd., 1922), 61.
  5. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 127 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 426.
  6. Alfred Percy Sinnett, "The Early Days of Theosophy in Europe", (London:Theosophical Publishing House Ltd., 1922), 61-62.
  7. Daniel H. Caldwell, Mrs. Holloway and the Mahatmas: Published and Unpublished Mahatma Letters to and about Mrs. Laura C. Holloway, Letter 17 available at The Blavatsky Archives.
  8. A Casebook of Encounters with the Theosophical Mahatmas Case 45, compiled and edited by Daniel H. Caldwell
  9. A Casebook of Encounters with the Theosophical Mahatmas Case 49, compiled and edited by Daniel H. Caldwell
  10. Claudia J. Keenan, Laura Carter Holloway Langford (1843-1930), The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture.[4]