The psychic world has produced some fascinating characters, none more so than the Russian born mystic, Helena Blavatsky. She was born in Ekaterinoslav, but travelled widely in the East.
Helena was a confident character who claimed to be psychic from an early age; she declared that she was gifted in levitation, mediumship, telepathy and clairvoyance. In 1873, she made her way to the USA; and in 1875, along with Colonel Henry Steel Olcott, she found the Theosophical Society.
In February 1879, Blavatsky and Olcott left for Bombay. In 1882, they founded a headquarters of the Theosophical Society in Adyar, in the southern suburbs of Madras. Blavatsky left India in 1885, making her way to Germany and Belgium, where she lived for a while.
She later moved to London where she wrote: The Voice of the Silence, The Secret Doctrine and The Key to Theosophy. In London, her influence encouraged Annie Besant to form the London branch of the Theosophical Society.
Nevertheless, her ideas did not go unchallenged, and in 1885 the Society for Psychical Research began to take an interest in her claims - they were unimpressed. They issued a report on her, arguing that she was a fraud who used trickery to produce results. She died on 8th May 1891 of influenza.