Handkerchief (phenomenon)

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Handkerchief No. 1

Col. Olcott wrote:

They were sitting together on a sofa and I was standing with Hurrychund at the centre table, when Scott reproached H. P. B. for her evident intention of letting him go North to his official post, without giving him the least proof of the existence of the psychical powers in men, of which she had so much spoken. She liked him very much, and so consented to comply with his request. "What shall I do for you?" she asked. He snatched the handkerchief she was holding in her hand, and, pointing to her name "Heliona" embroidered across one corner, said: "Well, make that name disappear and another to take its place." "What name do you want?" she rejoined. Looking towards us, where we stood at a distance of a few paces, he pointed to our host and said: "Let it be Hurrychund's." We came over to them on hearing this, and saw what was done. She gave Scott to hold tight in his hand the embroidered corner of her handkerchief, retaining the opposite corner herself. After a minute or so she told him to look. He did so, found the substitution of names had been made, Hurrychund's being there in the same kind of embroidery, and in the first impulse of excitement, cried out: "Where is your physical science now? This beats all the professors in the world! Madame, if you will give me that handkerchief, I'll pay £5 into the Arya Samaj treasury!" “Take it, and welcome,” she said, and he thereupon counted out into Hurrychund's hand five golden sovereigns. I do not recollect this fact having been communicated to the Press, but the story was at once spread by the dozen or more eye-witnesses, and helped to intensify the interest which the arrival of our party had created among educated Indian gentlemen.[1]

Handkerchief No. 2

On October 16, 1880, Mrs. Alice Gordon invites the Founders, Mr. and Mrs. Sinnett and Major S. to a picnic at her home, where the phenomenon of duplicating a handkerchief occurs.


  1. Henry Steel Olcott, Old Diary Leaves Second Series (Adyar, Madras: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1974), 17-18.