In 1896, Mr Crosbie's Knowledge of Mrs Tingley
was not based on Second Hand Reports
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 and the esoteric succession of Mrs Katherine Tingley, Mr Robert Crosbie in his Autobiographical Note observed---
". . . 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.".
"A FRIEND OF OLD TIME AND OF THE FUTURE"
"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 trusted...trust 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 wait."
What is Mr Crosbie referring to in the last sentence of the article---"We will not have long to wait"? I would suggest Mr Crosbie believed that he and 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 helper."
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 and 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 and 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 and merely "accepted everything as stated by the few in New York."
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.