Russian-born American mystic and cofounder of the Theosophical Society. Originally named Helena Hahn (born of German parents in Yekaterinoslav), she was married briefly in her teens to a Russian general, but left him and traveled widely in the East, including Tibet.
Blavatsky supposedly exhibited psychic powers from an early age, and throughout her career claimed to perform feats of mediumship, levitation, telepathy and clairvoyance. She went to America in 1873, and in 1875, with Colonel Henry Steel Olcott, founded the Theosophical Society in New York, and later carried on her work in India. Her psychic powers were widely acclaimed and attracted many converts to Theosophy, including Annie Besant, who's home became the headquarters of the Theosophical Society in London. Her writings include Isis Unveiled (1877) and The Secret Doctrine (1888).