Madame Blavatsky, ca. 1885

Born Helena Petrovna Hahn on August 12, 1831 in Ekaterinoslav, Russia (today Dnepropetrovsk in Ukraine), she was married off at age sixteen to General Nikifor Vassilyevich Blavatsky, age forty. She traveled broadly in Europe, the Middle East, India, the Kashmir, and perhaps Tibet; she survived a shipwreck, penetrated the Sphinx, lost a fortune, and made another. In 1853 she journeyed to Canada and the United States but was soon recalled to Russia. From Paris in the ensuing decade she departed for America once more, this time at the instruction of her Tibetan Master. Many of these “facts” she contested. “These lies are circulated by American reporters,” she wrote, “with which this land of canards and unwarranted exaggeration so fully abounds.”

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