This text is from the E-book Jack the Ripper: A Suspect Guide by Christopher J. Morley (2005). Click here to return to the table of contents. The text is unedited, and any errors or omissions rest with the author. Our thanks go out to Christopher J. Morley for his permission to publish his E-book.
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky
Helena Blavatsky was born of Russian nobility in Ekaterinoslav, (now Dnepropetrovsk) Ukraine, on 31 July 1831. Her mother, Helena Andreyna Fadeyev, was a novelist, who's writings concerning restricted Russian women consequently lead to her being called the George Sand of Russia. she died at the age of 28 when Helena was twelve years old. With the death of her mother, and with her father Col. Peter Alexeivich Hahn being in the armed forces, Helena was sent, along with her brother, to live with her maternal grandmother, Helena Pavlovna de Fadeev, a famous botanist and a princess of the Dolgorkuov family. Helena's mother and grandmother were strong role models in her life, and she inherited from them the characteristics of a fiery temper and a disregard for social norms, and did therefore mature into a nonconformist. At the age of seventeen she married forty year old General Nicephore Vassilievitch Blavatsky on 7 July 1849, the marriage was to last only a few months. She married her second husband, Michael C. Betanelly, on 3 April 1875 but also left him after only a few months, maintaining that neither marriage was ever consummated. Henry Steel Olcott called the marriage, 'A freak of madness', and ridiculed her for marrying a man so much younger than herself and unequal to her mental capacity. She travelled the world, and in 1873, hearing of the enthusiasm for spiritualism spreading in the United States, emigrated to New York, where she impressed with her psychic abilities. In September 1875 she co-founded, with Henry Steel Olcott and William Q Judge, the Theosophical Society, a new religious movement that took it's inspiration from Hinduism and Buddhism. The Theosophical Society expounded the esoteric tradition of Buddhism, aiming to form a universal brotherhood of man, studying and making known the ancient religions, philosophies and sciences, and investigating the laws of nature and divine powers latent in man. In July 1878 Blavatsky became the first Russian woman to acquire United States citizenship.
Blavatsky was described as fat, foul mouthed with a fiery temper, it was said of her that she could swear fluently in three different languages. In her later years she suffered from heart disease, rheumatism, bright's disease of the kidney and influenza, unable to walk she died at her home in London 8 May 1891. She was cremated with a third of her ashes remaining in Europe, and a third each going to America and India. Theosophists commemorate her death on 8 May, called White Lotus Day. Blavatsky wrote Isis Unveiled (1877) The Secret Doctrine (1888) The Key of Theosophy (1889) and the Voice of Sclence (1889).
Blavatsky is included as a possible Ripper suspect due to a remark by Aleister Crowley in an unpublished, untitled essay, he wrote, 'It is hardly one's first, or even one's hundreth guess that the Victorian worthy in the case of Jack the Ripper was no less a person than Helena Petrovna Blavatsky'. This throwaway remark was in fact Crowley's way of saying that Blavatsky was not Jack the Ripper.