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Born in the Ukraine to an affluent family, Helena Petrovna Hahn claimed, at a young age, to have the power of psychokinesis and to have divine visions. She married a general at age 17, but left him three months later. She traveled to Constantinople, and then around the globe for two decades--during which she was first introduced to the world of the occult. It is said that Helena smoked hashish at 19, and worked in a circus as a bareback rider and spiritual medium. On several occasions she was exposed as a fraud. Blavatsky came to the United States and in 1875 founded, with newspaperman Henry Steel Olcott, the Theosophical Society--whose purpose was to promote brotherhood and the study of the occult. In 1877, she published he first book ISIS UNVEILED, which was a summation of occult knowledge. Petrovsky and Olcott moved to India, where she promoted the Theosophical Society and its publications, and where, again, a committee investigating her claims reported her as a fraud. Blavatsky moved to Germany and completed her major work, THE SECRET DOCTRINE. Blavatsky died unhappy in London, but the society she founded remained, growing and acquiring loyal followers, and the two books she wrote have long been considered classics in their field.