Before the campus of Point Loma Nazarene University was a private Christian college, it belonged to a mysterious group known as the “Theosophists”.
The Theosophical Society that built many of the college’s historic buildings is shrouded in mystery. Under the leadership of the charismatic Madame Tingley, the Theosophists built a self-sustaining colony here in Point Loma, on the edge of the ocean. They believed in peace and harmony, in universal brotherhood. They also believed in “occult powers”, in “powers latent in humanity”.
Students tell stories about the Theosophists in hushed whispers. They say that Madame Tingley led the community with an iron fist. The mysterious past of this college inspires many of the stories people tell today.
Some tell much darker rumors—tales of séances and torture, of black magic and midnight rituals. Some say that human bodies were buried beneath certain parts of campus.
But are the rumors true? And if not, why do people repeat them?
*Drawings and photographs copyright David J. Schmidt