Mrs Annie Besant: A Modern Prophet – Theodore Besterman (1934) (1st ed)


Mrs Annie Besant: A Modern Prophet – Theodore Besterman (1934) (1st ed)


Title: Mrs. Annie Besant, A Modern Prophet

Author: Theodore Besterman

Publisher: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co, London, 1934. First edition.

Condition: Hardcover, no dust jacket. Former library book, with library stickers on endpapers. Text mostly clean, with sporadic markings in pencil. Binding tight. 274pp, 8 black-and-white plates of Besant, Krishnamurti and others.

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A biography of Annie Besant by psychical researcher Theodore Besterman.

About Annie Besant (from Wikipedia):

Annie Besant (1 October 1847 – 20 September 1933) was a prominent British socialist, theosophist, women’s rights activist, writer and orator and supporter of Irish and Indian self-rule.

In 1890 Besant met Helena Blavatsky and over the next few years her interest in theosophy grew while her interest in secular matters waned. She became a member of the Theosophical Society and a prominent lecturer on the subject. As part of her theosophy-related work, she travelled to India. In 1898 she helped establish the Central Hindu College and in 1922 she helped establish the Hyderabad (Sind) National Collegiate Board in Mumbai, India. In 1902, she established the first overseas Lodge of the International Order of Co-Freemasonry, Le Droit Humain. Over the next few years she established lodges in many parts of the British Empire. In 1907 she became president of the Theosophical Society, whose international headquarters were in Adyar, Madras, (Chennai).

She also became involved in politics in India, joining the Indian National Congress. When World War I broke out in 1914, she helped launch the Home Rule League to campaign for democracy in India and dominion status within the Empire. This led to her election as president of the India National Congress in late 1917. In the late 1920s, Besant travelled to the United States with her protégé and adopted son Jiddu Krishnamurti, whom she claimed was the new Messiah and incarnation of Buddha. Krishnamurti rejected these claims in 1929.After the war, she continued to campaign for Indian independence and for the causes of theosophy, until her death in 1933.

About Besterman (from Wikipedia):

Theodore Deodatus Nathaniel Besterman (22 November 1904 – 10 November 1976) was a psychical researcher, bibliographer, biographer, and translator. In 1945 he became the first editor of the Journal of Documentation. From the 1950s he devoted himself to studies of the works of Voltaire.

Between 1927 and 1935 he was the investigating officer for the Society for Psychical Research. His first publication was a 1924 bibliography of Annie Besant; many works of psychical research followed. He was a critical researcher; in 1930 his criticism of Modern Psychic Mysteries, Millesimo Castle, Italy, a book on an Italian medium by Gwendolyn Kelley Hack, caused Arthur Conan Doyle to resign from the society. Doyle stated “… [The work of the Society] is an evil influence—is anti-spiritualist.”

Besterman is most well known for his 1932 paper that examined the relationship between eyewitness testimony and alleged paranormal phenomena. Besterman had a number of sitters attend a series of fake séances. He discovered that the sitters had failed to make accurate statements about the conditions and details of the séances and the phenomena that took place. His study is often cited by skeptics to demonstrate that eyewitness testimony in relation to paranormal claims is unreliable.