Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (Russian: Еле́на Петро́вна Блава́тская) (12 August [O.S. 31 July] 1831 – 8 May 1891), an occultist and author, developed the spiritual philosophy of Theosophy, which she intended would express the universal religion of mankind.She co-founded the Theosophical Society, which gained her an international following. Born Helena von Hahn to aristocratic Russo-German parentage in Ekaterinoslav, Russian-controlled Ukraine, Blavatsky traveled widely around the Russian Empire as a child. Largely self-educated, she developing an interest in Western esotericism during her teenage years. According to her later claims, in 1849 she embarked on a series of world travels, visiting Europe, the Americas, and India. She alleged that during this period she encountered a group of spiritual adepts, the "Masters of the Ancient Wisdom", who sent her to Shigatse, Tibet, where they trained her to develop her own psychic powers.