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Mr Crosbie's Knowledge of Mrs Tingley was not based on Second Hand Reports

Mar 27, 1999 10:47 AM
by David Green

In 1896 Mr Crosbie's knowledge of Mrs Tingley was not based solely on 
second hand reports from leading theosophists in New York but on his own 
personal experiences with Mrs Tingley.

Regarding the death of W Q Judge & the esoteric succession of Mrs 
Katherine Tingley, Mr Robert Crosbie in his "Autobiographical Note" 

". . . E.T.Hargrove and E.A.Neresheimer . . . went through his [W Q 
Judge's] private papers;  in these they found reference to a certain
"chela," whom Neresheimer determined to be Mrs. Tingley. . . . The idea 
being in their minds that there must of necessity be an occult 
successor, and concurring in the opinion that Mrs. T. was indicated, 
they sent out a circular to the E.S. that Judge had appointed her as 
such.  The minds of all, being in the receptive condition I have 
mentioned, accepted everything as stated by the few in New York." 

In reading his account, one should note that Robert Crosbie's mind was 
"in the [same] receptive condition" too; he also believed "that there 
must of necessity be an occult successor."  The documents below 
illustrate this point.

In the last sentence of above account, Mr Crosbie implies that because 
he lived in Boston, he too "accepted everything as stated [about Mrs 
Tingley] by the few in New York."  

But Mr Crosbie's own attitude, mindset & involvement in all of this can 
be found in what *he wrote soon after W Q Judge's death*.  In the May 
1896 issue of THEOSOPHY, Mr Crosbie penned these words about Mr Judge 
*as well as about the coming "great messenger"*. 


"The first Theosophical treatise that I read was his [Judge's] Epitome 
of Theosophy;  my first meeting with him changed the whole current of my 
life.  I trusted him then as I trust him now and all those whom he is the bond that binds, that makes the strength of the 
Movement, for it is of the heart.  And this trust he called forth was 
not allowed to remain a blind trust, for as time went on, as the energy, 
steadfastness and devotion of the student became more marked, the "real 
W.Q.J." was more and more revealed, until that power radiated through 
him became in each an ever present help in the work. As such, it remains 
to-day, a living power in each heart that trusted him, a focus for the 
Rays of the coming "great messenger." 

. . . . The lines have been laid down for us by H.P.B., W.Q.J., and 
Masters, and we can take again our watchword, that which he gave us at 
the passing of H.P.B., 'Work, watch and wait.' We will not have long to 

What is Mr Crosbie referring to in the last sentence of the 
article---"We will not have long to wait"?  I would suggest that Mr 
Crosbie believed that he & the American theosophists would not have long 
to wait before the coming "great messenger" appeared.  This, no doubt, 
was Mrs Tingley.  

In the same issue of THEOSOPHY, Mr Claude Falls Wright, a theosophist 
who had been close to W Judge, wrote on a similar theme---

". . . While the spiritual energy he [Mr Judge] exercised was at his 
death distributed among all members and workers, nevertheless his inner 
powers centred in one.

"A new Messenger has come to us, to carry on the work of the spiritual 
revivifiers. . . . They crucified Blavatsky; they crucified Judge; who 
shall say if we can protect from the powers of darkness our latest 

In the next issue of THEOSOPHY, Mrs Tingley was revealed as the new 
Outer Head.

Because of its relevance to Crosbie's May 1896 THEOSOPHY article, I 
again quote Crosbie's letter in which he mentioned to Mrs Tingley his 
first personal encounter with her.  His experience must have occurred 
sometime before May 18, 1896. 

"I remember that the day I first saw you, I recognized you as the  
O[outer] H[ead] without hint or instruction as such, and in spite of the 
fact that I was not looking for a woman's form in that connection.
During that day you and I were the only ones in the E.S. room, and you 
came and sat down at the table at which I was working, and told me a 
great many things, saying that you did not know why you told me these 
things but that it was doubtless for some purpose. . . ."

These documents show that Mr Crosbie considered Mrs Tingley as the 
"great messenger" (as he phrased it in his May 1896 THEOSOPHY article).

Mr Crosbie was not some distant bystander in Boston having to rely & 
accept "everything as stated [about Mrs Tingley] by the few in New 
York."  In the events immediately after Judge's death, Mr Crosbie was a 
participant in the events. This is clear from his own personal words 
about Mrs Tingley---

"I remember that the day I first saw you, I recognized you as the  
O[outer] H[ead] without hint or instruction as such, and in spite of the 
fact that I was not looking for a woman's form in that connection."

The above material is in sharp contrast & contradictory of Crosbie's 
post-1904 account in which the impression is given that he was not in 
New York, had no personal knowledge of Mrs Tingley during these crucial 
months of 1896 & merely "accepted everything as stated by the few in New 

Mr Crosbie's "Autobiographical Note" doesn't give the reader full access 
to all relevant material.  I've tried to supply a few more pieces of the 
omitted material.

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