The Crop Watcher
One of several British periodicals concerned with the phenomenon
of crop circles. Last known address: 3 Selbourne Ct.,
Tavistock Close, Romsey, Hampshire, SO51 7TY, UK.
Crosbie, Robert (1849–1919)
Robert Crosbie, founder of the United Lodge of Theosophists,
was born on January 10, 1849, in Montreal, Canada. He
was raised a Presbyterian by his Scottish immigrant parents, but
declined to join the church as a teenager as its thought did not
satisfactorily answer his questions about life. He and an older
partner started a shoe manufacturing business in 1869 and
eventually he married his partner’s daughter. The death of his
partner’s wife occasioned an interest in Spiritualism and led
further to his investigation of various psychic and occult phenomena.
Then around 1886 Crosbie and his partner sold their
business and moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where they started
an even more successful business of the same kind. Here he
attended the very first gathering of the new Theosophical Society
and joined. When the national leader, William Quan Judge
(1851–1896), came to Boston to speak, they met and became
friends. Crosbie also began a correspondence with Madame
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831–1891), the main teacher in
the society who at the time resided in England. He became
president of the Boston Theosophical Society in 1892.
In the 1890s, when the American society under Judge became
independent of the international Theosophical Society,
Crosbie remained loyal to Judge and continued to work with
his successor Katherine Tingley. He was one of the signatories
on the new organization that Tingley created, the Universal
Theosophical Brotherhood, designed to offer a practical demonstration
of the theosophical principle of brotherhood. In
1900, soon after the founding of the theosophical community
at Point Loma (San Diego), Crosbie relocated there to assist
Tingley in her utopian experiment. However, over the next few
years he came to feel the experiment valueless and the teachings
espoused by Tingley an unacceptable departure from Theosophy
as he understood it. In 1904 he left Point Loma and
moved to South Pasadena, California, where he organized a
study group that was chartered by the branch of the Theosophical
Society still aligned with the international movement. However,
in 1907 it became fully independent. In 1909, that group
became the new independent society that he called the United
Lodge of Theosophists. He sought to present Theosophy as he
understood it to have been presented in the early years of the
Crosbie was opposed to the creation of a strong central organization
or to the emphasis upon charismatic personalities.
Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. Crosbie, Robert
The various lodges that came to be associated with the United
Lodge are autonomous centers for the dissemination of theosophical
teachings. In the periodical he began in 1912, Theosophy,
the articles were unsigned (unless copied from the writings
of the theosophical founders). He also initiated an education
program for the children of his members (called associates).
Only in the years after his death on June 25, 1919, were his
writings collected and published under his name in two books.
Crosbie, Robert. Answers to Questions on the Ocean of Theosophy.
Los Angeles: Theosophy Co., 1937.
———. The Friendly Philosopher. Los Angeles: Theosophy
Co., 1934.
Ten Broeck, Dallas. ‘‘Brief Notes in Mr. Robert Crosbie’s
Life and Work.’’ Unpublished paper in the American Religions
Collection, Davidson Library, University of California-Santa
The Theosophical Movement, 1875–1950. Los Angeles: Cunningham
Press, 1951.