in the Garden of Eden
Secret History of the Early Game
On February 13, 1904, the Nick Carter Detective Weekly introduced a character named Irma Plavatsky, a beautiful Russian princess with a dual personality: kind when she was Irma, but deadly when possessed by the male Tibetan magician Dazaar, who could possess the body of not only Irma but also—simultaneously—seven prominent New York socialites, of the sort who might murder at his behest (or, readers might have understood, abandon all that they knew of respectable life and, zombie-like, march off to the Theosophical Society compound at Point Loma). Dazaar, the invention of pulp novelist Frederick Van Rensselaer Dey, was expelled from The Great White Lodge for taking on a female form, yet he continued to practice the Lodge’s art of soul transference. This arch-villain was also capable of throwing a jackknife across a street and having it land point-first in a door lock, or of killing an intended victim slowly by inserting radium in his hatband. Pursuing Dazaar, Nick Carter even found in the Tibetan Himalayas a lost race of blond-haired, white-skinned Aryans who were masters of “vibrational science.” Mme. Blavatsky was not so long removed from the terrestrial plane that people failed to get the joke.