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Steve Stubbs' "third possibility" about the cup & saucer materialization

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  • Daniel Caldwell
    Writing about possible explanations for the materialization of the cup and saucer at a Simla, India picnic, Steve Stubbs offers what he calls a third
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 10, 2002
      Writing about "possible" explanations for the
      materialization of the cup and saucer at a Simla,
      India picnic, Steve Stubbs offers what he calls a
      "third possibility". I give his specific text on this
      possibility BELOW in order to comment on it in my next

      "That said, there is a third possibility, not broached
      by Emma, Sinnett, Henderson, or anyone else. We know
      Sinnett was an incredibly lazy man, as were all the
      other Englishmen in India, or, as he would have
      preferred to say it, that he was a gentleman of
      leisure. He had a full time job as editor of the
      PIONEER, but only worked a couple of hours a day.
      When he was fired, he blamed that on his Theosophical
      connection, but the truth could very well be that his
      boss decided to replace him with someone who could be
      expected to shake a leg."

      "So here we have a very hot day in India. It is
      proposed to take a shovel and dig into hard ground
      which is impacted with tree roots in the middle of a
      boiling hot day. I can guarantee you that Sinnett did
      not turn a hand in that operation, but entrusted the
      job to one of the Indian servants, while he laid back
      as usual."

      "The servant, who is not a confederate, then spends
      some considerable time trying to break through hard
      ground and tree roots. This is not very entertaining
      so Sinnett and the others get bored. At some point
      they are easily distracted by conversation. The
      digging goes on but nobody is watching what is

      "Suddenly, one of the chelas walks up and quietly
      offers to take over so the servant can have a rest.
      By this time there is a hole large enough that a cup
      and saucer can be inserted in it. While nobody is
      looking, the chela inserts the objects, then calls the
      attention of the previously distracted Europeans to
      his "find". It was not necessary for the original
      servant to conceal these objects on his person because
      they were brought to the scene by the chela."

      "If he wanted to get really slick about it, he could
      have filled a small pan with mud, then inserted the
      cup and saucer in it. He could have then cooked the
      system slowly, so as to dry the mud without turning it
      into brick. He could then insert the whole thing into
      the ground, so that the observers could watch the cup
      and saucer being dug out of packed earth. If they
      were extracted properly, there would be no evidence of
      how the trick was done."

      "Now I hope nobody is cynical enough to think this is
      how the deed was actually done, as opposed to an
      astonishing and unexplainable miraculous
      materialization of a cup and saucer out of thin air.
      But I do think as historians we can dismiss theories
      #1 and #2 above completely out of hand, since they are
      both wildly impractical. This new theory of mine
      would be a way of producing the phenomenon by trickery
      if one wanted to do so, and as Maskelyne once said, it
      could be done by 'the merest tyro in conjuring.' It
      wouldn't take a Houdini, in other words."

      "...And it is also likely the cup and saucer
      was just a trick."

      The above is extracted from:


      The same text is also found at:


      Daniel H. Caldwell
      "...Contrast alone can enable us to appreciate things at
      their right value; and unless a judge compares notes and
      hears both sides he can hardly come to a correct decision."
      H.P. Blavatsky. The Theosophist, July, 1881, p. 218.

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